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December 26, 2006

Iran's Oil Exports May Dwindle To Zero By 2015

All the joys of communism, minus the great gymnasts and chess players.

The report isn't as credible as I'd like -- because the writers use their claims to engage in apologism for Iran's nuke program. They claim that Iran may really need nukes because they're "neglecting investment" in oil production.

Well, gee whiz, from where could they get the additional money to invest in oil production? Maybe from the nuke program? And it's not nuclear energy that has America riled up about Iran -- it's Iran's specific insistence on building nuke power plants that enrich uranium into a weapons-grade form. Such nukes simply aren't necessary if you just want to produce electricity.

The report is also sanguine on the possibility that Iran may self-destruct without a military strike by America -- which may be an intentionally false bit of optimism. Peace in our time and all that.

So take it with a grain of salt.

Iran is suffering a staggering decline in revenue from its oil exports, and if the trend continues income could virtually disappear by 2015, according to an analysis published Monday in a journal of the National Academy of Sciences.

Iran's economic woes could make the country unstable and vulnerable, with its oil industry crippled, Roger Stern, an economic geographer at Johns Hopkins University, said in the report and in an interview.

Iran earns about $50 billion a year in oil exports. The decline is estimated at 10 to 12 percent annually. In less than five years exports could be halved and then disappear by 2015, Stern predicted.

For two decades, the United States has deployed military forces in the region in a strategy to pre-empt emergence of a regional superpower.

The U.S. military exercises have not stopped Iran's drive. But the report said the country could be destabilized by declining oil exports, hostility to foreign investment to develop new oil resources and poor state planning, Stern said.

Stern's analysis, which appears in this week's edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, supports U.S. and European suspicions that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons in violation of international understandings. But, Stern says, there could be merit to Iran's assertion that it needs nuclear power for civilian purposes "as badly as it claims."

He said oil production is declining and both gas and oil are being sold domestically at highly subsidized rates. At the same time, Iran is neglecting to reinvest in its oil production.

"With an explosive demand at home and poor management, the appeal of nuclear power, financed by Russia, could fill a real need for production of more electricity."

Um, yeah. And Russia's offered a dozen times to process whatever uranium Iran says it needs, and Iran has refused every time. Because they don't want nuclear energy; they want nuclear weapons.


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posted by Ace at 06:55 PM

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