Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Protecting the oil

The Gulf of Guinea has emerged as the second largest pool of commercial petroleum resources in the world and recently surpassed the Persian Gulf as America’s largest supplier of crude oil. African oil tends to be of high quality, low in sulfur, and 2,000 miles closer to U. S. refining centers without maritime transit chokepoints. Unlike security concerns associated with Middle Eastern oil, offshore oil production is easier to protect from ground turmoil. Understandably, the Gulf of Guinea is a nexus of concern for U.S. energy policy since the region will supply 25 percent of its crude oil by 2015.

Just of few years ago, the U.S. military was all but absent from the oil-rich waters of West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea. This year, it plans to be there every day. Consequently, the Pentagon has forged both bilateral and regional military partnerships with every African nation in the region with the exception of the Ivory Coast. A report recommends the development of a “regional maritime security network” with U.S. and international security assistance efforts, including planning support, asset donation, and training. A regional maritime security network would help secure oil supplies in the Gulf of Guinea for quelling America’s concerns while strengthening cooperation and geopolitics for the region’s political stability and economic prosperity.

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