Growing U.S. Need for Oil From the Mideast Is Forecast

Despite White House statements, US growing more dependent on Saudi oil.

Published: 27-Dec-2002

INGTON Dec. 25 — As President Bush seeks to reduce American reliance on oil imported from the Persian Gulf, new government studies predict that in two decades the West will be even more dependent on oil from Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern producers.

Mr. Bush, asked a week ago on the ABC News program "20/20" about the importance of Saudi Arabian oil, said that "we must have an energy policy that diversifies away from dependency" on foreign sources of oil — including some that "don't like America."

Late last month, the Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration forecast that in 2025 the majority — 51 percent — of world oil production would come from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. About two-thirds of OPEC production, in turn, emanates from the Persian Gulf. The Energy Information Administration, or E.I.A., says OPEC now produces 38 percent of the world's oil.

The information administration projects that Saudi Arabia will need to produce 22 million barrels a day by 2020 to meet increased world demand, far in excess of its current production of about 8 million barrels.

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