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Friday, July 24, 2009

Oil Addiction on ABC Tonight

Charlie Gibson's ABC News special report, Over A Barrel: The Truth About Oil, airs tonight, Friday, July 24, as a special edition of "20/20." The program airs at 10:00 pm Eastern Time.

You can also read more about the report and view clips online by clicking here. Here are a few interesting tidbits from the article:

Imported oil accounts for 70 percent of the U.S. supply, and much of that comes from half a world away.

"Most of the world's remaining reserves of oil are in the hands of just five countries," said Vijay Vaitheeswaran, a professor in residence at New York University and correspondent for the Economist magazine. "Saudi Arabia, which has a quarter of the world's oil reserves, or its four immediate neighbors: Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and the UAE."

Where is this heading?
"When a country like the United States depends on oil to really run its engine or the industry, we are at the mercy of the suppliers of oil," Chu said. "We are spending hundreds of billions of dollars a year importing oil and, so, we are heading toward a train wreck."
What are the hidden costs of our oil addiction?

And the United States is spending billions more on military engagements in the Middle East. The war in Iraq alone, by conservative estimates, has already cost close to $700 billion.

Gen. Wesley Clark, the former Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO, called oil resource protection one of the key factors driving U.S. foreign policy.

"There is no one who would have any doubt about whether protecting energy sources and access to those sources is one of America's vital interests," Clark said, adding, however, that the Iraq war should not be reduced to U.S. interest in oil?

"No, it wasn't all about oil," Clark said, "but oil was a component of this. ... Indirectly, oil was at the foundation of a lot of this, not just in 2003 but in 1990, '91 ... It's been the thrust of U.S. policy, and before that, it was the thrust of British policy to safeguard access to that region."

Vaitheeswaran, in his assessment of the true costs of oil dependence, said, "We're paying for the geopolitical complications of oil, but we pay it through the Pentagon budget and we pay it through the lives of our soldiers lost overseas.

"These are costs we bear. ... We use more gasoline than we should, because there is an artificial price. ... We don't pay an honest price for the energy we use in America."

What about "drill baby, drill?"

T. Boone Pickens made billions off the oil industry in his 50-year career. But the lifelong Republican now says, no matter what his party says, that Americans can't rely on what they have, regardless of how much technology may improve.

"I have been asked this question, what would I expect to get if we drilled, and I said that 2 million barrels a day," Pickens said. "I would be pleasantly surprised if we could do that off those areas, 2 million barrels. Remember, we are importing 13 million barrels a day."

As for the notion that "Drill, Baby, Drill" could break U.S. dependence on foreign oil, "you haven't got a prayer," Pickens said. " ... I thought, who in the hell is telling them that that makes sense? Because it doesn't make sense."

It is good to see mainstream media finally addressing the topic. Check it out tonight on ABC.
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