Graphs About Oil

As news of Iraq's oil inducing monetary surplus enters the main stream I thought I'd take some time to reflect, or rather research the history of Iraq's oil business. The publicly available data acquired dates to February of 1996, the start of Bill Clinton's second term. The amount of barrels imported from Iraq during the Clinton years slowly grew before leveling out at around the 22,500 thousand barrel level with a monthly max of 28,580 in October of 1999. With the changing of the guard, Iraqi exports remained roughly steady with the USA under the new Bush Administration until September of 2001. The graph below shows a large spike corresponding to September 2001 as it also marks the highest monthly total on record. Source: Energy Information Administration

Could other factors cause such a coincidence, perhaps the age old economic mantra of supply and demand played a role. The next graph shows the petroleum production of OPEC and Iraq; the purpose of this graph is to illustrate that supply did not change in the months leading up to September 2001, yet demand did based on the first graph's large increase during the same time frame. I looked for figures related to petroleum reserves citing perhaps a methodical buildup by OPEC, but the data pertaining to this figures was not collected before 2003; which in itself is fascinating. Source: Energy Information Administration

Now for the graph that begs the question: Why did Iraqi oil exports to the USA drastically increase after the September 11th attacks and then again before the start of the Iraq War? I have no idea what the answer to this question is but there is little evidence to support pure happenstance. I can think of theories but nothing concrete.Source: Energy Information Administration

The next graph has nothing to do with Iraq, but rather Iran. The same Iran McCain preaches about in his energy policy. The data clearly paints a picture though; Iran really has nothing to do with our dependence on foreign oil because the USA has never depended on Iran for oil.

U.S. sanctions against Iran due to Iran's historic support for international terrorism and its actions against non-belligerent shipping in the Persian Gulf impact the development of its petroleum sector. According to the Iran Transactions Regulations, administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), U.S. persons may not directly or indirectly trade, finance, or facilitate any goods, services or technology going to or from Iran, including goods, services or technology that would benefit the Iranian oil industry. U.S. persons are also prohibited from entering into or approving any contract that includes the supervision, management or financing of the development of petroleum resources located in Iran.

Source: Energy Information Administration [Updated: Oct 2007]

This quote from the EIA pretty much says all that needs to be said. The USA has imported no crude oil or for that matter any other petroleum product from Iran since at least 1993, the first year our data source (EIA) began reporting this data. Source: Energy Information Administration

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