Until recently I assumed that all major oil companies purchased at least part of their crude from Arab nations. That is not the case. Many companies purchase all their oil from non-Arab nations. This raises an interesting question. By buying our gasoline from companies who purchase their crude from nations dedicated to our destruction, are we indirectly supporting terrorism?
I receive about 1,000 emails each day. Subscribers send me all kinds of interesting (and not-so-interesting) items. One that caught my eye was sent in by several subscribers. It contained a list of oil companies who did not import any oil from the Persian Gulf, along with a suggestion that readers of the email patronize the gas stations of those companies.
After reading through this email, I did something few people on the Internet do - I checked it out. It is surprising to me that otherwise responsible adults blindly forward emails without making any attempt at checking their validity. This is the electronic equivalent of something the Bible strongly condemns - spreading rumors. Over 90% of the “shocking,” “amazing,” and “revealing” forwarded emails I receive daily have absolutely no foundation in truth.
My favorite site for researching such emails is Truth or Fiction (see our Resources Section below). This particular email earned a rating of both “Truth” and “Fiction.” The “Truth” rating had to do with the lists of both companies that import and companies that do not import Arab oil. Truth or Fiction’s research staff had verified this information with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The “Fiction” section of the email claims that gas is projected to rise to $3 by the summer of 2002. Truth or Fiction found that the DOE was actually forecasting a high of $1.60 by summer.
The Truth portion of this email interested me because I have long been concerned about the danger to both our economy and our national security of importing huge quantities of oil from nations who bitterly hate our country and everything we stand for. I cannot forget that the people in every Persian Gulf state were literally dancing in the streets, cheering and laughing, as the news emerged that thousands of Americans had perished at the hands of Islamic terrorists on 9/11. And I am very conscious of the fact that there is not one democracy among the oil-producing Arab nations.
The United States imports about 60% of its crude oil. Many reading this well remember the OPEC oil embargo in 1973, and the economic havoc it wreaked on our country. We will not soon forget waiting in line for hours to get a few rationed gallons of gas. But most who remember do not realize that at that time the U.S. was only importing 35% of its crude. We are now in a much more dangerous situation.
U.S. Department of Energy Chart
What does this mean to our economy? And what does it mean to our national security?
To answer these questions we need a little background. When Bill Clinton left office, his “energy policy” had placed our nation in a perilous condition. He had reduced our Strategic Petroleum Reserves to dangerously low levels; far below the level required by federal law. Against the advice of his own Treasury Secretary, Lawrence Summers, and that of Alan Greenspan, Clinton ordered millions of barrels of vital oil to be sold from the nation’s stockpiles. (Parenthetically, this oil was sold through “brokers” who knew nothing about oil. They were simply allowed to broker the deals in order to line their pockets. Several Clinton cronies, including “Reverend” Jesse Jackson, made millions from this rip-off of the American people.)
So, what would it mean to our economy if the Arabs were to turn off the spigot? In a matter of weeks our economy would feel the effects in a serious way. Oil and gasoline prices would rise dramatically. Most personal transportation is by automobiles. Essential workers, especially those who commute long distances, would have trouble getting to work. Most food deliveries are made by truck. Fire engines and ambulances depend on gasoline. Now think of all the things that use oil besides cars and trucks. A huge percentage of our electricity is generated by oil. Trains, which transport food and emergency supplies, use diesel fuel. Ships and airplanes, which transport both people and essential supplies, use fossil fuel. Communications would be disrupted; the Postal Service and all the express delivery companies use planes and trucks.
Do I think it is likely that the Arabs would permanently halt all oil shipments to the U.S.? No. They need the dollars we send them to prop up their kings and dictators, and to support the terrorism that is their version of a foreign policy. Do I think it is likely that they might use a temporary embargo as leverage against the U.S.? Let’s put it this way: They could live without our dollars for a few weeks or months. We have allowed ourselves to become so dependent on their oil that we would be hurting long before they would. As you read this, Iraq is trying to convince other Arab nations to use an oil embargo as a tool against the U.S.
How does our dependence on foreign oil affect our national security? U.S. Department of Defense doctrine calls for the U.S. to have sufficient fuel, personnel, equipment, and munitions to defend our country on two major fronts simultaneously. Thanks to Former President Bill Clinton, our nation is deficient in all four categories. Let’s just focus on the first. Fighters and bombers run on fossil fuel. The missiles they fire do the same. Tanks use diesel or gasoline. The trucks that supply our front line troops do, as well. What is the likelihood that we might ever again be engaged on two fronts?
Let’s look at a possible scenario. The United States suffers a major attack by terrorists funded by our “friends” in Saudi Arabia, who use nuclear weapons developed by Saddam Hussein with the cooperation of his Arab neighbors. Major U.S. cities suffer simultaneous attacks using Iraqi “suitcase bombs.” Remember that we know from internal Chinese documents that their generals (who really run the Communist state) always refer to the United States as “The Enemy.” Is it unlikely that Red China might take advantage of the mass confusion of multiple terrorist attacks to attack us?
Back to the original email. It listed the following companies that purchase millions of barrels of Arab oil: Shell, Chevron, Marathon, Conoco, Amoco, and Exxon-Mobil. Using the DOE statistics confirmed by Truth or Fiction, and assuming an average price of $25 per barrel (NY crude is currently at about $26.50), that is over $20 Billion in crude purchased by these companies from enemies of our nation.
The email went on to declare that Sunoco, British Petroleum, Citgo, Sinclair and Phillips purchased no Arab oil. Truth or fiction confirmed that the first three bought no crude from the Middle East. Concerning Sinclair and Phillips, they stated, “We didn’t find any Middle Eastern purchases.”
Interestingly, according to the DOE, as of January 4, 2002, the average price of one barrel of OPEC crude was $18.94. As of last November, the average U.S. refinery acquisition cost for a barrel of crude oil was $17.63.
What can we do with this information? I don’t know about you, but every time I fuel my car, I feel frustrated that I am being forced to subsidize terrorism. Knowing what I know now, I will buy my gas from companies that don’t purchase Arab crude.
Will that solve the basic problem of our dependency on foreign oil? No. It will make me feel better, but it won’t solve the problem. The problem is really two-fold: 1) We purchase oil from foreign sources; and 2) Some of those foreign sources are enemies of our nation, democracy and all the values that we stand for. Changing my purchasing habits will make a small difference in the second part of the problem.
The first part is tougher. As a U.S. Department of Energy chart shows, we will soon be importing 70% of our oil. The tragedy is that we have billions of barrels of domestic crude oil held hostage by liberal environmental extremists in this country. Remember that liberals long for the day that America will be part of a one-world government. This is why the environmental wacko arm of the vast left-wing conspiracy is so desperate that it publishes obvious lies about the dangers of drilling our own oil.
I only have space for one quick example, but I could give you hundreds. I will quote from the October 2001 Limbaugh letter: “It was a classic ‘gotcha’ moment. At a press conference early in his Presidency, George W. Bush was asked a question about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). As the President began laying out his proposal for tapping the vast oil reserves there, CNN immediately went to a split-screen, running file footage of pristine Alaskan wilderness, filled with peaceful, happy, gamboling caribou. When Bush uttered the word ‘drilling,’ you could just about see the snow-capped mountains shudder and the woodland creatures’ eyes fill with tears.”
The problem is that the footage CNN showed was from hundreds of miles away - and CNN knew it! This was a deliberate attempt to deceive the public into believing that Big Bad Bush wanted to ruin the environment. In truth, the one-tenth of one percent of ANWR where the president proposes to produce billions of barrels of vital oil is actually frozen tundra. If CNN had shown footage of the actual area where the drilling would take place, viewers would have said, “What a perfect place to drill. Nothing could live there.”
And indeed, nothing does live there. No caribou. No wide-eyed deer. No Bambi. ANWR is desolate tundra. It is barren, frozen mud and rocks. In the winter, when temperatures drop to 70 degrees below zero, it is totally dark for over two months. No self-respecting caribou would want to hang out there. In fact, in other coastal areas of Alaska where drilling has been allowed, the caribou snuggle up to the production areas because of the heat generated by the equipment. During the House debate on ANWR drilling, Alaska Representative Don Young denounced House Democrats for lying about the beautiful wilderness that they claimed would be destroyed. “How dare you stand up here and talk about something you have never seen! Shame on you.”
To see the type of image CNN claimed was the ANWR drilling area.
To see what the ANWR drilling area actually looks like in the summer.
To see what the ANWR drilling area actually looks like 9 months of the year.
Seventy-five percent of Alaskans (including the Inupiat Eskimos) support drilling in ANWR. But you would never know it from listening to the liberal news media. All you see from them are lies, distortions, and footage taken hundreds of miles from ANWR, where they claimed it was shot.
As long as the United States is dependent upon our sworn enemies for imported oil, our national security and our economy are in jeopardy. And we will continue to give the terrorists what they want so much - U.S. dollars, a commodity more valuable than oil. We have billions of barrels of untapped reserves in Alaska, off our coasts, and in the lower 48 states. The answer is in our own backyard.
Editor’s Note: In the interest of full disclosure, I feel I should mention that I am part owner of a company that does oil drilling and exploration in Kentucky and Tennessee. I did not write this article because I am involved in the business. To the contrary, I got involved in the business years ago because I saw that the U.S. was dangerously dependent on foreign oil.