Christian Science Monitor takes a look at various claims about which country is the biggest in oil exporting, production, or just “energy”. It finds that the claims are heavily political in intent and not worth a whole lot when it comes to assessing reality. Of particular note is Iran’s claim to being among “top exporters” (a meaningless phrase, the writer contends) when its production has dropped from 2,500,000 barrels per day to 31,450 barrels per day.

Energy politics: Who really leads the world in oil?
Media reports about oil production across the globe are confusing and definitively political along an East-West divide, Alic writes
Jen Alic

Iran is one of the world’s top fuel oil exporters, despite sanctions; the US is poised to overtake Saudi Arabia in terms of “hydrocarbon” production; Pakistan has enough oil to become a second Dubai …

It’s a propaganda race to see who can come out on top—at least in the media. Muddling through media reports that are definitively political along an East-West divide can be confusing. So let’s look at it without the political compass.

Last month, the US mainstream media barraged us with simplistic reports about how the US will soon be producing more oil than Saudi Arabia—making America the world’s top producer. Left out of this story was the fact that the math was a bit skewed: the US may end up producing more total hydrocarbons than Saudi Arabia soon (say, by 2020), but not crude oil, which is what really counts.


January:22:2013 - 08:03 | Comments & Trackbacks (1) | Permalink
One Response to “Fudge Factors”
  1. 1
    dan Said:
    January:22:2013 - 09:54 

    John

    The article that you’re citing is so laughable, that it isn’t even wrong; it simply isn’t describing the real world. At its basis is a hapless confusion between fuel oil and crude oil.

    China is lifting openly some 600-700Kbpd of Iranian crude; it’s probably higher, but that’s the official number it keeps to so as to maintain the fictions that are necessary for keeping its sanction exemption – the US will go along with it as no-one really wants a repeat of the 1997 ILSA fiasco. India, Turkey and a number of other countries are doing the same. Best estimates of acknowledgeable Iranian crude exports are currently in the region of 1.5 mbpd – substantially larger than the 100kbpd figure that seems to have been pulled out of a rear orifice.

    It doesn’t help that the writer of the piece ( or his editor ) doesn’t seem to understand the difference between fuel oil (a refinery product used in shipping ) and crude oil, or that the PressTV figures concern bunkering fuel oil to shipping in transit in the Persian Gulf – ie passing trade – which is by no means the totality of Iranian exports of fuel oil, as it doesn’t include the bulk loads being sent off to Singapore, China, Rotterdam and elsewhere.

    A really shoddy piece of work from the CSM.

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