Saudi Alchemy

Water Into Oil, Oil Into Water

by Toby Jones
published in MER254

The abundance of oil in Saudi Arabia is staggering. With more than 250 billion barrels, the kingdom possesses one-fifth of the world’s oil reserves, affording it considerable influence

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Running for Cover: The US, World Oil Markets and Iraq

by Chris Toensing | published September 28, 2000

Last week's panic within the Clinton Administration over a potential winter spike in heating oil prices has greatly eased, as oil prices have begun to fall. The Democrats' political planners feared that Republican candidate George W. Bush and voters would blame Clinton and Vice President Al Gore for failing to forestall the price rise that dominated the news for the last two weeks.

Oil Prices and Regime Resilience in the Gulf

by Fareed Mohamedi
published in MER232

The steady summertime creep of oil prices past $40 per barrel and over an unprecedented $45 surprised most oil analysts, including this one, who were expecting the price to drop after the US-led invasion of Iraq. But no one is likely to have been as stunned as the Bush administration policymakers, like Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, who glibly promised post-invasion prosperity for the country “floating on a sea of oil.”

The Curious Case of Oil-Exporting Jordan

by Pete Moore
published in MER234

From time to time, the boring economic data regurgitated by Jordan’s amply staffed ministries offers up a tantalizing mystery. In the Monthly Statistical Bulletin (May 2004) published by the Central Bank of Jordan, for example, one learns that Jordanian export of refined oil products increased 46 times over from 2002 to 2003 -- a trend that continued well into 2004. This is certainly odd, since Jordan has no proven oil reserves.

Europe, the US and the Strategic Triangle

by Saad Rahim
published in MER235

Oil is by its very nature a finite commodity. The question has always been not whether it would run out, but when it would. The doomsday scenarios that some predict --mass blackouts and the imminent demise of suburbia -- may be far-fetched, but the era of “peak oil” is here.

Iraqi Unions vs. Big Oil

by Shawna Bader-Blau
published in MER243

On February 26, 2007, the Iraqi cabinet passed and recommended for parliamentary approval a new law governing the country’s immense and largely untapped supplies of oil and natural gas. Grasping at straws for any sign of success in Iraq, the law’s international sponsors hailed a major accomplishment for Iraq’s fledgling government. White House spokesman Tony Snow celebrated the oil law’s passage toward Parliament, one of four “benchmarks” the Bush administration has set for the Iraqi government, as a “key linchpin” in Iraq’s recovery. Three months later the oil law is still awaiting parliamentary debate, its ultimate fate in doubt.