A Long-Term United States' Energy Policy Without Venezuelan Oil
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
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The current energy, economic, and political relationship between the United States and Venezuela can be characterized as mutually dependent. The United States is Venezuelas largest consumer of crude oil and associated refined products, accounting for 60 of Venezuelan oil exports while Venezuela provides 10 percent of the United States imported oil. The U.S. has become increasingly concerned with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavezs nationalization of the oil sector and anti-U.S. rhetoric. If an embargo occurred today, a loss of Venezuelan oil would significantly affect the U.S. ability to meet its own oil demands. This paper examines future U.S. consumption and production as well as the current and future energy relationship between the United States and Venezuela. The paper attempts to develop a long-term comprehensive strategy for a sustained or permanent loss of Venezuelan oil. This paper analyzes future fuel conservation, current and future Western Hemispheric crude oil production to include the U.S., and future production of the alternative energy source ethanol. The long-term policy, spanning the next two decades, identifies available future oil sources such as Canadian oil sands and Brazilian ethanol. This paper identifies the impact of fuel standards on fuel conservation and the viability of raising fuel standards. This paper also identifies other untapped sources such as Mexican offshore oil fields and drilling within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Finally, additional recommendations are presented for consideration but carry significant political, diplomatic, and environmental obstacles.
- Electric Power Production and Distribution