Monday, May 31, 2004

Oil. My Precious.

I'm sure you've heard enough about the Saudi hostage crisis elsewhere. Let's look at the bigger picture: oil. From the Washington Post:
The attack came at a time when Saudi Arabia has vowed to use its vast capacity to bring down prices... Saudi officials announced that they would immediately increase production to about 9 million barrels a day from about 8.5 million, and raise output even further to whatever level was demanded by the market. The Saudis are the only member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries capable of making such promises. Oil wells and refineries nearly everywhere else are producing flat out to meet growing global demand. [However] the Saudis contend that they could easily ramp up production to 10.5 million barrels a day or more.
The attacks didn't target the infrastructure, just the executives who manage it. Still it was close enough to cause serious concern. The attack "came in the nation's eastern zone where the bulk of the kingdom's oil is piped to a densely-packed network of refineries and export terminals on the Persian Gulf."

How long until they attack either the infrastructure or a tanker at sea? I bet if they can punch a hole in the USS Cole, they can damage a tanker.

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