Oil and GeopoliticsActor Viggo Mortensen, famed for his role in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, is clearly indisagreement with George Bush about the reason the US went to war in Iraq. The T-shirthe was wearing recently as a guest on the PBS talk show
said it all: NOMORE BLOOD FOR OIL. The war in Iraq, according to him, was not, as Bush claimed,about weapons of mass destruction and terrorism.The oil experts may disagree about the timing of when the oil runs out, but they all agreethat most of the remaining “black gold” in the world is located under hot sand dunes inthe Persian Gulf. The five OPEC nations -- Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE —are the world’s leading producers of oil. The most prominent user of oil, on the other hand, is the US. Although the US has only 5 percent of the world’s population, USconsumers guzzle down a whopping 26 percent of this indispensable liquid annually.Surprisingly, though, the US imports a smaller percentage of oil from OPEC than it did20 years ago. In the first 6 months of 2001, the US actually imported more from Canadathan from Saudi Arabia. So, is Viggo Mortensen wrong? Not necessarily.The Russian president, Valdimir V. Putin, said in October 2001, in a “timely” statementshortly after the World Trade Center attacks, that “Russia remains a reliable and predictable partner and supplier of oil.” In reality, experts agree that Russia’s elite statusin the world’s oil market will be short-lived. According to the New York Times, we will,in the next few years, see a decline in oil production in Russia, the North Sea, the Alaskannorth slope, the areas off the shores of West Africa, and other regions. The countries inthe Middle East will therefore soon become owners of the biggest stock piles of barrels of oil around.Here are the crude facts: There are forty super-giant fields of oil in the world, twenty sixof those are in the Middle East. Most importantly, while many of the oil fields in Russiaand the US are in decline, production from the black oceans of oil in the OPEC countriesare still ascending Hubbart’s elegant curve.