Despite the vitriolic political temperatures that characterize the Persian Gulf, the U. S is steadily increasing its reliance on oil from Saudi Arabia. This year alone, U.S imports from the Arab nation have increased by more than 20 percent.
This reversal in U.S. oil import patterns is attributed to the struggle over the Iranian nuclear program, that has spilled over to neighboring countries and created a lot of disruption in the Middle East. Before the whole Iran issue blew out of proportion last summer, the U.S. dependence on oil from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf as a whole, was not that high. In fact, U.S dependence on Saudi oil only started picking up this year.
Saudi Arabia is willing to support the U.S., as it wants to maintain equilibrium between supply and demand, and consequentially put a leash on prices. In addition to that, the two nations have had a lasting political alliance that has prevailed all through Iran’s nuclear energy wrangles.
On face value, the whole situation may pass out as a battle for economic supremacy in the Middle East. Nonetheless, this is not the case. Most of it is driven by political forces. Saudi Arabia and Iran are bitter rivals. As such, when Saudi Arabia and the U.S. trade together, Iran becomes the common enemy.
Unfortunately for Iran, it is the common enemy among a growing number of nations. This followed its diverging political and economical opinions, steered by its nuclear programs. After the disagreements, the U.S among other nations tightened up on sanctions in the country. What followed has been an endless game of threats that has even pulled Israel into the picture.
Apparently, Israel threatened to take arms against Iran over the latter’s nuclear programs. In the heat of it all, Iran had threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz; a move that would paralyze U.S oil supply and shock the global pricing system.
While Iran has not yet pushed forward with its threat, pressure is mounting as oil business slowly drifts into the political incline.
It is the common belief among an overwhelming number of oil experts that the U.S dependence on Saudi Arabia and the Gulf is temporary. Experts believe that the reliance will last only a couple of years, until the Gulf of Mexico alongside Canadian oil fields starts to produce substantially.
The Obama administration, through officials, reassured everyone they were not as worried about the situation. They pointed out that in the event of a crisis, the U.S could always settle for strategic petroleum reserves, citing that domestic production was on the rise.
Major oil companies including BP PLC (NYSE:BP), Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) have not moved much on the news.