Republicans need to make it clear that Keystone will help end U.S. dependence on Mideast oil – by Ted Morton (National Post – March 2, 2015)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

What do American Sniper, Chris Kyle and the Keystone XL pipeline have in common? Most Americans would probably say “nothing.” Unless that changes soon, U.S. President Barack Obama and the Democratic minority in Congress will succeed in sustaining the veto over Keystone that Obama exercised last week.

If the Republicans want to win this battle, they have to change their message. The Keystone pipeline is not about creating more jobs over the next three years, but about saving more lives over the next three decades — lives of young Americans being sent to the Middle East to defend America’s security of supply of imported OPEC oil.

The recent collapse of oil prices and availability of cheap gasoline have made it easy for Americans to forget how dependent on Middle East/Arab oil the U.S. and its allies still are. Thanks to the shale revolution of the past decade, U.S. oil production has risen three-million barrels per day (b/d) to 8.5-million b/d. But American consumption of oil is still double this amount, so the Americans are still importing 7.6-million b/d. While more and more of this is now coming from Canada — over three-million b/d — most of it still comes from the Middle East.

U.S. shale oil is not going to change this. Contrary to what most Americans may assume, OPEC’s share of global oil production has actually risen since 1985 from 30% to 39%. And OPEC’s share of global production is projected to continue to increase to 49% by 2040. To understand the implications of this, we need to understand what the world’s oil future looks like. Listed to the right are the top 14 nations in the world in proven oil reserves. Also noted is each nation’s rating in Freedom House’s 2015 Global Report on respect for political and civil rights.

Going forward, this is not a pretty picture. By way of summary, the U.S. has 1.5% of global reserves. Canada has 12.5%. We are the only two oil-rich nations to be rated “free.” Countries rated “not free” control 78%, while Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa control 62%. America’s “friends” in this region — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi/UAE and Qatar — are all rated as “not free.” So, too, are Egypt and Jordan, which don’t figure in global oil reserves, but are currently allies in fighting ISIS and other Islamic terrorist groups.

For the rest of this article, click here: