Tuesday, March 8, 2011

US considers tapping oil reserves

Source: Press TV

In the United States, high gas prices at the pump have made President Barack Obama's administration consider tapping into the nation's oil reserves to prevent an economic slowdown.

Experts say the administration's move will only be made in cases of extreme emergency such as scarcity and it will not affect every day high fuel prices at the pump, a Press TV correspondent in Washington reported on Tuesday.

Despite the current unrest in oil-rich countries in the Middle East and North Africa, which has somewhat affected the volatility of the oil market, energy analysts believe that the surge in gas prices has already taken place in the United States and prices may climb even higher.

“The problem is we simply consume much more oil than we produce at home. And in terms of gasoline, a huge proportion -- almost seventy percent -- is imported. So, this is the real dilemma we have. We cannot do anything to change this overnight,” says Charles Ebinger, the director of the Energy Security Initiative at the Brookings Institute.

American drivers do not seem to be getting used to the high gas prices, which have affected everything from private to public transit for more than two years now.

“I think it is ridiculous. One week, it is $2.30 or $3.38, and it goes up. I mean it has gone up for at least 40 cents since last week,” a commuter to Washington told the Press TV correspondent.

The United States last took oil from its reserves in 2005 in the weeks following Hurricane Katrina -- one of the deadliest disasters in the nation, which claimed at least 1,836 lives.

Libya -- the most oil-rich African nation among other states like Gabon and Equatorial Guinea -- has, since mid-February, witnessed nationwide popular anti-government protests, demanding the ouster of its decades-long ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

Some Middle Eastern oil-rich Arab countries have also seen their people taking to the streets in protest against their ruling governments.

In Yemen, anti-government demonstrations demanding the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh have taken place since February 20, with at least 25 people dead.

Bahrain has also hosted protests against King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, who has ruled the Persian Gulf nation for about two centuries.

A popular movement has also taken place in Saudi Arabia, demanding democratic and political reforms in the monarchy of King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz.

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