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Monday, March 28, 2005

Who will get ANWR oil?

Our politicians are fond of saying that ANWR should be drilled because it will reduce our dependence on imported crude oil. But will it?

As this article makes clear, it's very likely the precious crude from irreplaceable ANWR will go to fuel cars in China, Japan and other newly car-obsessed Asian nations. The piece quotes industry analyst Dave Pursell saying that ANWR oil will go first to the U.S. West Coast, and from there into the global marketplace. Writer Monica Perin says it is "considered likely by many experts" that ANWR oil will go to Asia.

Pundit No. 2, Michelle Michot Foss of the University of Houston, then adds: "anything that helps global supply-demand balance helps us."

I fail to see the logic in this, given that ANWR oil will be a tiny percentage of global output. But then I'm not an industry analyst. The point is this: Politicians shouldn't be claiming that ANWR offsets oil imports. If ANWR oil isn't staying at home, we'll still be importing an equivalent amount from elsewhere.