The Arab Oil Embargo of 1973-1974



The Arab members of the OPEC group retaliated against the military and
economic aid which the U.S.A. gave to Israel during the Yom Kippur War of
1973, by means of the military air-lift called Operation Nickelgrass, by
placing an oil embargo against the U.S.A., which was liftyed in March 1974.
In 1973, 12% of the oil consumed in the U.S.A. came from the Middle East,
whereas the figure for Europe was 80%, and for Japan over 90%. The British,
French, and Japanese reversed their previously pro-Israeli policies as a
result of the Arab oil embargo, and became more pro-Arab in the following
years. See "1973 oil crisis," in
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1973_oil_crisis . Only from 1975 onwards did
the United Kingdom begin to receive petroleum supplies in large volume from
the North Sea after the completion of a pipeline linking the offshore oil
wells to the British coastline.

The U.S.A., in the aftermath of the stunning Israeli victory over Egypt,
Jordan, and Syria in the Six Day War of 1967, became closely allied towards
Israel, because by then Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and southern Yemen or Yemen Aden
had moved into the Soviet camp during the Cold War, followed by Libya by
1973. See "The Evolution of Strategic Cooperation," by Mitchell G. Bard, in
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/US-Israel/evolution_of_strategic_coop.html .
Today, the greatest enemies in the Middle East for the Americans are the
Iranians and Syrians, and of course, the Sunni Arab Iraqis. The principal
weapons suppliers of Iran and Syria today are the Russians and Chinese, with
the Russians in particular assisting Iran in its development of its
so-called nuclear energy program, and that in a country with large oil
deposits! In 2004, about 80% of China's oil imports came from the nations
surrounding the Persian Gulf, which the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps has
threatened to blockade should China invade Taiwan. The U.S. Navy and Marine
Corps today has bases in the Persian Gulf nations of Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain,
Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, the Indian Ocean island of Diego
Garcia, the Japanese island of Okinawa, and the Pacific Ocean islands of
Guam, Saipan, Wake, and Kwajalein.

In 2005, 57% of the total U.S. oil supply came from foreign oil imports, and
the Arab OPEC nations supplied the U.S.A. with 26% of its oil imports in
2004, with 24% of U.S. oil imports coming from the Persian Gulf nations. In
other words, 14.82% of the oil consumed in the U.S.A. came from the Arab
OPEC nations in 2004, and 13.68% of the oil consumed in the U.S.A. in 2004
came from the Persian Gulf states. See "U.S. Middle East Policy and Oil," by
Mitchell G. Bard, in
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/US-Israel/usoil.html . The
principal suppliers of U.S. oil imports outside the U.S.A, and outside the
Middle East nations ( i.e. Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain,
Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Iran ), are Canada, Mexico,
Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, the North Sea nations of England,
Scotland, Norway, the former republics of the Soviet Union, Libya, Algeria,
Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Malaysia, Brunei,
and Indonesia.

After the 1967 Six Day War, Israel's defendable frontiers greatly improved
with its capture of the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip from Egypt, the
West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria.
The Suez Canal, as a result of the 1967 Six Day War, was closed until 1975,
when the Israelis began a phased withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula,
followed by a further stage in 1979, and completed in a final stage in 1982.
The Israelis, who have already withdrawn from the Gaza Strip, plan to
withdraw from 93% of the West Bank by 2010. An Israeli withdrawal from the
Golan Heifgts, formerly occupied by Syria until 1967, is somewhat more
problematic, because the tributaries which run from these heights feed a
large part of the freshwater supplies for Lake Galilee, and before 1967
Syrian artillery based in the Golan Heights was often used to bombard
northern Israeli farms and villages. As part of the 1979 Peace Treaty
between Egypt and Israel, the Egyptians agreed to provided sales of their
petroleum and natural gas reserves to Israel, some of which comes from the
Gulf of Suez and the Sinai Peninsula.

The Sumed or Suez-Mediterranean pipeline, completed in 1977, has the
advantage of being able to transport petroleum imports from the Persian Gulf
in supertankers via the Red Sea to the Egyptian port of Ain Sukhna on the
Gulf of Suez to the port of Sidi Kerir on Egypt's Mediterranean coastline.
The Suez Canal is not wide enough and not deep enough to handle
supertankers, although current expansion works on the canal will overcome
these obstacles by 2010. The Sumed pipeline is owned by the Arab Petroleum
Company ( APP ), which is a joint venture between Egypt ( 50% ), Saudi
Arabia ( 15% ), Kuwait ( 15% ), the United Arab Emirates ( 15% ), and Qatar
( 5% ). See "Egypt-Oil and Gas Industry: Exploration & Production," by the
African Refiners Association," in the MBendi website, 26 May, 2005, in
http://www.mbendi.co.za/indy/oilg/ogus/af/eg/p0005.htm .

In 1981, the Saudi Arabian East-West oil pipeline, connecting the oil fields
of the Persian Gulf coastlands and offshore oil wells to the Saudi Arabian
Red Sea port of Yanbu' al Bahr, was completed, with further extensions
completed in 1987. Yanbu' al Bahr is also the site of an important Saudi
naval base. See "Yanbu' al Bahr" in
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yanbu'_al_Bahr .

Theoretically, the U.S.A. could be self-sufficient in its petroleum supplies
by extracting oil from its domestic deposits of coal, oil-shale rock, and
bituminous tar sands, although the current technology available in doing
this is still too expensive. Although autogas, also known as LPG ( Liquified
Petroleum Gas ) and CNG ( Compressed Natural Gas ) is cleaner, and also
cheaper in some parts of the world, natural gas deposits are usually found
near petroleum deposits, and is therefore a non-renewable fuel source.
Although hydrogen energy and the related nuclear fusion energy could one day
make the world self-sufficient in its energy supply, the technology to do
this commercially on a large scale is still a long way into the future.


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