Oil Axis and Allies
Because our need for oil is so rich, we make alliances with countries like Saudi Arabia, a country that in 1948 when oil was first discovered there was viewed as basically a nomad nation, made up of beudions on camelbacks. Today, Saudi Arabia is a shining example of the extreme profits made available from oil, as the country is more modern in many places then America.
The world's largest oil field, Ghawar is located in Saudi Arabia. It was discovered in 1948 and currently produces approximately 4.5 million barrels per day. It has between 60-70 billion barrels in reserve and should continue producing for several decades to come. The bad news is that no other fields like this have ever been discovered and thus the importance of Ghawar and of Saudi Arabia deepens our commitment to them. For, if Saudi Arabia goes, so goes our oil.
Ghawar is so large that its production accounts for about 60% of all Saudi Arabian oil. Ghawar has so many soldiers and guards protecting these fields, that it could field an army the size of many countries.
Production at Ghawar reached a peak of 5.7 million barrels per day in 1981. This is the highest sustained oil production rate ever achieved by any single oil field in history, but it is also 27 years ago, meaning that since that day it has produced less and less, while our consumption has risen.
Ghawar has produced more than 55,000 million barrels of oil, and there's still more buried in the sand. But no one is sure exactly how much crude the Ghawar oil field still contains.
Ghawar produces about five million barrels per day-about 6.25% of the world's total oil production. This field is one of only four able to produce over a million barrels per day.
But to meet expected world demand, says the United States Department of Energy's research arm, Saudi Arabia will need to produce 13.6 million barrels a day by 2010 and 19.5 million barrels a day by 2020. Thatís simply not going to happen.
The development of 3rd world countries and the rise of China has contributed dramatically to the recent surge in global oil demand. There are over a billion people in China; in less then 50 years there will be close to 2.5 billion people there. As China moves from a rural, bike loving nation to a urban car driving nation their consumption of oil will even outpace ours and like us they have few if any local oil resources.
Because of this China has made alliances with countries we consider anti-American. Venezuela is one country that China has a mutual alliance with and since their President, Hugo Chavez, is truly anti-American, it can only be seen that Chinaís oil dependence and growth as a nation is leading it to back countries with rich oil supplies who also happen to be anti- American. Just think about Iran and some African nations.
So besides running of out our supply of oil, we are also crashing toward an inevitable world conflict over oil, for the country that controls the oil, controls the power. It's easy to see there's trouble ahead. But rising demand is only a tiny part of our problem.
With the rise of the OPEC nations and the fall of communist Russia, we are leading ourselves to a world where we are no longer a dominant super power because we donít control the oil.