Bentsen: Energy Policy beyond 'Gunboat Diplomacy' Necessary / Oil Import Hike Coming

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON - Calling for an energy policy that goes beyond gunboat diplomacy, Sen. Lloyd Bentsen has warned that the United States will be importing increasing amounts of oil from the Persian Gulf.

The Texas Democrat, the Senate Finance Committee chairman, released a six-page Congressional Research Service study of oil consumption and demand in the United States that predicts a dwindling amount of oil from countries which are not members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

U.S. oil production is projected to decline by 25 percent to 50 percent by the turn of the century, and imports from many non-OPEC countries are also on the wane, according to the study, which used past U.S. production rates as a basis for its conclusions.

The United Kingdom will see a 50 percent drop in oil production by 2000 and Canada will trail off by at least 10 percent, according to the report.

Mexico, also a major source of U.S. imports, is projected to double its production by the turn of the century, as is Norway, but at considerably greater cost than in the past, the survey states.

"The upshot of these facts and figures is that new U.S. imports of oil must come largely from OPEC members in the Persian Gulf and North Africa," Bentsen said in a letter to his Senate colleagues. …