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zoom RSS 米国の原油輸入 2009年の対サウジ依存度が35%も減少

<<   作成日時 : 2010/11/01 05:02   >>

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2009年のサウジの対米国原油輸出は、前年比で35.5%と大幅に減少した。(文中の1991年の数字は、第1次湾岸戦争時の軍需によって跳ね上がっただけ。)

2009年の欧州向け輸出も、前年比26.5%減少。ピーク時と比較すると85%減。

米国が代替の原油調達先として選んだのは、隣国のカナダ。オイル・サンドとかオイル・シェールと呼ばれるものの開発が進んだからだが、原油回収時に環境破壊を伴うため、この記事では、「米国が、原油の対中東依存度を下げる政治的意志を優先し、中東の石油より『汚い原油』を選んだ」と激しい言葉で批判している。

もっとも、先進国が買わなくなった分は、アジアを中心とする新興国が購入を増やすので、需給のバランスは取れている。

関連記事:シェール・ガスが変える世界のエネルギー事情



US seeking 'dirty' alternative to dependence on ME crude

By SYED RASHID HUSAIN
Published: Oct 30, 2010 22:21 Updated: Oct 30, 2010 22:21

Saudi crude exports to the US have taken a deep plunge and now are at their lowest level in 20 years. Saudi exports to the US reportedly tumbled to nearly 386 million barrels (1.05 million bpd) in 2009, the lowest level since 1989, and since then it seems to be falling further.

Last year, the total exports to the US stood at around 380 million barrels (1.04 million bpd), far lower than even the 2008 export figures of nearly 590 million barrels (1.61 million bpd) and those of 2007, when they were estimated at nearly 571 million barrels (1.56 million bpd).

Historically speaking, Saudi crude exports to the US had hit an all-time high of around 663 million barrels (1.81 million bpd) in 1991, during the first Gulf crisis of 1991, when the US and its allies were on a coalition to eject Saddam's forces from Kuwait. Those were heydays as far Saudi crude exports to the US were concerned.

And interestingly, while US imports of Saudi crude are falling, the US reliance on the "dirty oil" from Canada seems to be growing. During an unscripted question-and-answer session after addressing the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week said that TransCanada Corp.'s XL Keystone Pipeline project, aimed at doubling the US imports of carbon heavy Alberta bitumen, is likely to be approved by the US State Department.

Although the State Department hadn't yet signed off on it, "we are inclined to do so, and we are for several reasons," Clinton clarified. And this was enough for some to raise their eyebrows. What could those several reasons be? Commentators noted and underlined what Clinton added in the next breath ― the issue of "energy security" as a key consideration on where the US will get its oil between now and its as-yet-unscheduled oil-less future.

"Tolerating dirty oil is a reality until we can get our act together as a country and figure out that clean, renewable energy is in both our economic interests and the interests of our planet."

"It's a very hard balancing act," she said. "Energy security requires that I look at all of the factors that we have to consider while we try to expedite as much as we can America's move toward clean, renewable energy."

Diplomats in Washington often point to the phrase "energy security" as a code for "better" ― from Canada rather than Saudi Arabia. Today, the Canadian oil sands represent a key element of North American and US energy security, and this concern seems to be ultimately ruling the day, analysts underline.

TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline is to snake 2,739 kilometers, carrying 900,000 barrels a day of heavy bitumen, from Alberta to Texas. Canada is already the largest single exporter of oil to the United States and the project would double the crude volume exports to the US from Canada.

And Clinton's remarks were not out of blue. Canada has been cultivating the US for some time now to get a green signal for this project, yet it was not expected to be coming so soon their way. Canadian newspaper Toronto Star, quoting Canadian government sources in Ottawa said Clinton's remarks came as a complete surprise to them. The issue of energy security seems to be pushing the project ahead.

And this phenomenon is not limited to the US. While Saudi crude exports to the US are falling, Saudi oil exports to Western Europe are also plummeting in the wake of the continent's supply-diversification policy. One could definitely read much politics into this entire move.

From a peak of around 1.526 billion barrels in 1974, it collapsed to nearly 320 million barrels in 1989. The sales then sharply rebounded to 623 million barrels in 1991 but started to decline again in the following years touching 483 million barrels in 2000. It dipped to 306 million barrels in 2007 and 310 million bpd in 2008 before crashing in 2009 to their lowest level of 228 million barrels since 1964.

Others were ready to fill in the gap. The decline in crude sales to the West has given way to a sharp rise in Saudi crude exports to Asian markets, where Saudi Arabia is gradually boosting its presence to take advantage of a steady growth in their economies and consequently in their oil demand in the future. After all, regional oil producers need markets for their crude exports.

All above may appear unrelated developments. These are indeed disparate variables impacting the global energy equation. Yet these are not so unrelated ― as may appear. All these are the result of the long-existing psyche in the western world ― to get rid of the Middle Eastern crude ― and almost at any cost.

Despite all the pressure from environmentalists, the US even seems preferring the dirty oil over Middle Eastern crude. This is politics. Economics and environmental considerations do not seem to be dictating decisions.

Yet this may carry long term consequences. To balance the global needs, the world needs Middle Eastern crude and if selective discrimination against the Middle Eastern crude continues, it could severely impact future availability of this precious natural resource. Better the world realizes it before its too late.

Non fundamentals continue to play havoc with the energy world, assuming a still more significant role. There are definite clouds on the horizon; one can't help underlining again and again.

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