It's the Pipelines, Stupid

200 Iraqi insurgent attacks against that nation's oil facilities has cut exports in half, while a handful of similar attacks made against Saudi infrastructure will push oil well over $100 a barrel.

Published: 01-Feb-2005

One of the biggest stories of 2004 was Peak Oil--the hardening consensus among analysts that global reserves of recoverable oil are half gone, and that output will soon begin a decline as drastic as last century's growth was explosive. Even if the 50 percent mark hasn't been reached yet, few disagree that the roller coaster car is at most inches from the big rush down.

All of which makes the current pipeline-terrorism fad more than a little ironic. Just as it becomes clear that the earth's juiciest sunken oil veins are collapsing, along comes Johnny Jihad to smack the needle out of our fingers. Turns out we may not get the honor of sucking the world's last oil well dry, after all.

During the first three weeks of 2005, there were 13 reported attacks on Iraq's oil infrastructure, bringing the total since the start of the war to almost 200. Though one-third of Iraq's security forces and some 14,000 mercenaries now patrol Iraqi refineries and pipelines, the attacks are grinding exports to a slow halt. The State Department admits that the Iraqi oil industry is operating at half-capacity and falling, confirming Paul Wolfowitz's pre-war claim that oil profits would finance reconstruction as one of the best jokes of 2003.

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