What the leaked State Dept. cables revealed

My friend Hal Bauer e-mailed me this link to an article in Britain’s The Guardian newspaper about a State Department cable revealed by Wikileaks.

The cables, released by WikiLeaks, urge Washington to take seriously a warning from a senior Saudi government oil executive that the kingdom’s crude oil reserves may have been overstated by as much as 300bn barrels – nearly 40%.

The revelation comes as the oil price has soared in recent weeks to more than $100 a barrel on global demand and tensions in the Middle East. Many analysts expect that the Saudis and their Opec cartel partners would pump more oil if rising prices threatened to choke off demand.

However, Sadad al-Husseini, a geologist and former head of exploration at the Saudi oil monopoly Aramco, met the US consul general in Riyadh in November 2007 and told the US diplomat that Aramco’s 12.5m barrel-a-day capacity needed to keep a lid on prices could not be reached.

According to the cables, which date between 2007-09, Husseini said Saudi Arabia might reach an output of 12m barrels a day in 10 years but before then – possibly as early as 2012 – global oil production would have hit its highest point. This crunch point is known as “peak oil”.

The Guardian’s Wikileaks archive of leaked U.S. State Department cables reveals a great many astute observations.  I wonder how many of these observations made their way up to Secretaries of State Condoleeza Rica and Hillary Clinton and how much of what Rice and Clinton were told was passed on to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

My impression is that Presidents nowadays bypass the Foreign Service and conduct foreign policy through the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense and the National Security Council.  If so, and judging by results, maybe they should listen more to career diplomats.

Click on Wikileaks cables: Saudi Arabia cannot pump enough oil to keep a lid on prices for the full Guardian article.

Click on US embassy cables: browse the database for selections from The Guardian’s Wikileaks archive.

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One Response to “What the leaked State Dept. cables revealed”

  1. Jim Says:

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