KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images
Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf (R) and Emirati Finance and Industry Minister Hamdan bin Rashed al-Maktoum (L) arrive with aides to attend a meeting of finance ministers of oil-producing Gulf Cooperation Council monarchies focusing on economic development projects in the region, in the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi on May 7, 2011.
Saudi Arabia has long been the world’s largest petroleum exporter, and on the other end of the supply chain, the United States was the largest importer, and most of America’s oil comes from Saudi Arabia.
The U.S. had been on a downward trend with importing Saudi oil, but recent unrest in the Middle East, including heightened tensions over Iran’s nuclear program has seen that trend turn around.
U.S. politicians stump about American energy independence, but given the decades long political alliance with Saudi leadership the reality of weaning America off its dependence on foreign oil is much more complicated than speeches can make it sound.
Oil experts say that Canadian and domestic oil production will increase over the next couple years, but will it be enough to help America supply its own energy needs? Where else can America turn to supply its insatiable thirst for oil? Can renewable energy sources fill the gap?
Michael Levi, senior fellow for Energy and the Environment and director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change at the Council on Foreign Relations