IAGS Spotlights

IAGS regularly publishes brief analysis of breaking events in the field of energy security, technological innovation, and other topics spanning the Institute's areas of interest. IAGS Spotlights are published by the Institute's staff and research associates. If you'd like to receive updates by email, subscribe to our ENewsletter.

Joint Publication of The Brookings Institution and the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS): Iraq's Oil Sector One Year After Liberation
Iraq's oil could be the most critical element in determining the success or failure of the reconstruction effort, but the recent attacks on two major pipelines and the assassination of a top oil executive illustrates the fragility of Iraq's oil-export sector. In a study for the Brookings Institution Gal Luft of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security urges the U.S. to view the pipeline war as a high priority and to provide additional funding to bring Iraqi oil back on-line on a larger scale and with greater reliability.

Can Canadian sands replace Arabia's? by Dr. Gal Luft
As of 2003, Canada's oil reserves suddenly jumped by 3,600% from 4.8 billion barrels (bbl) to 180 bbl. This is not due to major exploration effort but rather to a drop in the cost of producing oil from Alberta's oil sands, which in the eyes of the Department of Energy qualified the resource to be categorized in the economically recoverable "proven reserve" column.
Tar sands in Alberta
Surface mining is energy intensive
Canadian officials boast that approximately 300 billion barrels underlie the 30,000 sq. miles of Alberta and are ultimately recoverable. This is more than Saudi Arabia's conventional reserves. With such wealth of energy in North America why should the U.S. maintain its dependency on oil from hostile countries?
Despite the promise, explains Gal Luft, it is far too early to bid farewell to the Middle East. Alberta's oil sands may be close geographically but they fall short of providing a viable solution to America's growing oil needs.

West African Oil: Hope or Hype? by Dr. Cyril Widdershoven
President Bush's trip to the African continent has focused attention on West Africa's large crude oil and gas reserves. Is West African oil a possible substitute for America's growing dependence on crude exports from the unstable Middle East or will the Gulf of Guinea echo the risks presented by the Persian Gulf?

Joint Publication of The Brookings Institution and the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS): How Much Oil Does Iraq Have?
Over the past several months, news organizations and experts have regularly cited U.S. Department of Energy figures claiming that Iraq holds over 112 billion barrels (bbl) of proven reserves and up to 200 bbl of undiscovered reserves - making Iraq the world's second largest oil reserve. But DOE figures stand in contrast to those of a no less reputable government body, the Department of Interior's U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS). Based on extensive geologic studies, USGS claims that it is Russia, not Iraq, which holds the world's second largest reserve after Saudi Arabia. According to the USGS, Iraq has only 78 bbl and about 45bbl of undiscovered reserves, very far from the 200 bbl figure.
The incompatibilities between the two chief government agencies dealing with energy assessments are so sharp that it seems as if the two operate in different countries.
Who is right? Billions of dollars of investment are heading toward Iraq; it is time to find out how much oil Iraq really has. For more information read an analysis by Gal Luft.

Fueling the dragon: China's race into the oil market
The implications of China's increasing oil dependence and lack of domestic supply on the future of US-China relations. Will China's dependence on foreign oil fuel an arms race in the Middle East?
Property of The Institute for the Analysis of Global Security 2003, 2004. All rights reserved.