Mar 06 2009

Israel down to the wire on Iranian nukes?

Category: economy,energy,Iran,Israelharmonicminer @ 10:08 am

At the link, an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post detailing the reasons why Israel’s “window of opportunity” to take out or slow down Iran’s nuclear program is closing fast, making imminent action likely, especially given the results of the recent Israeli election. It’s a very persuasive case,  and includes this assertion:

American policymakers are now convinced that Iran, despite all protests and charades, is in a mad dash to create a deliverable nuclear weapon. The Obama administration has almost openly abandoned the assertions of the CIA’s much-questioned 2008 National Intelligence Estimate that concluded Iran was not pursuing nuclear weaponry for the simple reason that its atomic program and military programs were housed in separate buildings.

But what if Israel DOES strike Iran? Necessary as that may be, it spells very bad news for the USA.

Iran, of course, has repeatedly threatened to counter any such attack by closing the Strait of Hormuz, as well as launching missiles against the Ras Tanura Gulf oil terminal and bombarding the indispensable Saudi oil facility at Abqaiq which is responsible for some 65 percent of Saudi production. Any one of these military options, let alone all three, would immediately shut off 40% of all seaborne oil, 18% of global oil, and some 20% of America’s daily consumption.

America’s oil vulnerability has been back-burnered due to the economic crisis and the plunge in gasoline prices. However, the price of gasoline will not mitigate an interruption of oil flow. The price of oil does not impact its ability to flow through blocked or destroyed facilities. Indeed, an interruption would not restore prices to those of last summer – which Russian and Saudi oil officials say is needed – but probably zoom the pump cost to $20 per gallon.

American oil vulnerability in recent months has escalated precisely because of oil’s precipitous drop to $35 to $40 a barrel. At that price, America’s number one supplier, Canada, which supplies some 2 million out of 20 million barrels of oil a day, cannot afford to produce. Canadian oil sand petroleum is not viable below $70 a barrel. Much of Canada’s supply has already been cancelled or indefinitely postponed. America’s strategic petroleum reserve can only keep that country moving for approximately 57 days.

THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION, like the Bush administration before it, has developed no plan or contingency legislation for an oil interruption, such as a surge in retrofitting America’s 250 million gas guzzling cars and trucks – each with a 10-year life – or a stimulus of the alternate fuel production needed to rapidly get off oil. Ironically, Iran has undertaken such a crash program converting some 20% of its gasoline fleet yearly to compressed natural gas (CNG) as a countermeasure to Western nuclear sanctions against the Teheran regime that could completely block the flow of gasoline to Iran. Iran has no refining capability.

The question of when and how this endgame will play out is not known by anyone. Israeli leaders wish to avoid military preemption at all costs if possible. But many feel the military moment must come; and when that moment does come, it will be swift, highly technologic and in the twinkling of an eye. But as one informed official quipped, “Those who know, don’t talk. Those who talk, don’t know.”

Because our leaders have dithered and stonewalled in developing our own oil resources, in the name of “environmentalism” and “global warming” fears, and general eco-pagan-panic, we’re about to be in world of hurt, energy-wise.

I’m keeping my Prius.  And I just put in a wood stove. 

Try to imagine what a true oil-shock will do to our already reeling economy.  Can you imagine a DOW average of 4,000?   Better stuff your nest egg (shrunken though it probably is already) in some VERY SECURE place…  which the stock market sure isn’t.

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