So, if you wage war for oil, but don’t get the oil…
By Ian Rutledge
04/11/05 “Financial Times” – – Sir, Your recent report that oil prices have reached an all-time nominal high and that Goldman Sachs has suggested the possibility of a “super spike” in prices to as high as $105 per barrel (“Crude at all-time high despite Opec’s efforts”, April 5) should be of no surprise to anyone who has studied the informed opinions of US energy experts in the period leading up to the invasion of Iraq. Nor, for that matter, to anyone who has seen my own observations on future world oil prices in my recent book Addicted to Oil.
…So when, according to the former head of ExxonMobil’s Gulf operations, “Iraqi exiles approached us saying, you can have our oil if we can get back in there”, the Bush administration decided to use its overwhelming military might to create a pliant – and dependable – oil protectorate in the Middle East and achieve that essential “opening” of the Gulf oilfields.
But in the words of another US oil company executive, “it all turned out a lot more complicated than anyone had expected”. Instead of the anticipated post-invasion rapid expansion of Iraqi production (an expectation of an additional 2m b/d entering the world market by now), the continuing violence of the insurgency has prevented Iraqi exports from even recovering to pre-invasion levels.
In short, the US appears to have fought a war for oil in the Middle East, and lost it. The consequences of that defeat are now plain for all to see.
I think more than an “oops” is in order here.