America Needs Terror-Free Oil

"Why are we importing oil from countries that are exporting lethal terrorism by groups who hate our freedoms and despise our way of life?" Sen. Conrad Burns asks. At a December 6 energy summit in Moscow, the Montana Republican bluntly discussed the dangers of U.S. dependence on "rogue oil."

Saddam Hussein has "stockpiled $6.6 billion in black market oil money to fund his evil regime," Burns complains. Filling American gas tanks unwittingly helps Saudi-government charities pay $5,300 each to families of Palestinian homicide bombers.

How can America begin to halt this flow of blood money to those who kill us and our friends?

Step one: Increase domestic petroleum production.

Step two: Help develop overseas oil resources outside the Middle East. Ample resources exist in places that are not engaged in anti-American jihad. Abutting Russia and Kazakhstan, the Caspian Sea boasts proven reserves of 33 billion barrels of oil.

Russian oil deposits may be even more generous. Roughly 49 billion barrels rest below that country’s vast land mass. With minimal outside investment, Russia already pumps 6.9 million barrels daily (almost matching Saudi Arabia’s typical production of 7.4 million barrels-per-day). Jeffrey E. Garten of Yale’s School of Management believes Russia could lift its output to at least 10.35 million barrels.

The Gulf of Guinea also could help satisfy U.S. oil demand. The largely offshore oil fields between the Ivory Coast and Angola yield low-sulfur petroleum. This is perfect for developing gasoline at U.S. refineries and is easily transportable across the open Atlantic. By 2006, Sub-Saharan Africa could supply 8 million barrels daily, up from 4 million today.

Step three: Alberta, Canada’s oil sands could offer a nearby, friendly and long-term petroleum resource. By liberating a fraction of the 300 billion barrels of oil that adhere to these sands, Syncrude last year produced 223,000 barrels daily. It hopes to generate 360,000 barrels by 2005. Through two new developments called Voyageur and Firebag, Suncor plans to deliver 550,000 barrels-per-day by 2012.

As America wages the War on Terror, we immediately should adopt a strategy to slash or end our dependence on rogue oil. We should follow the advice Winston Churchill offered as World War II loomed: "Safety and certainty in oil lie in variety and variety alone."