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Published:September 11th, 2009 20:47 EST
American Oil Independence:  Not Today, Not Tomorrow

American Oil Independence: Not Today, Not Tomorrow

By Daniel Marsche

If you " like many " allowed your hopes to rise in response to BP`s Tiber project announcement last week, bring them right back down to earth.  Appraisals of the newly discovered field have yet to be conducted, and BP is making no speculations.  A representative for the company confirmed only that further testing of the site would be required before any yield estimates or solid plans for drilling could be made. 


Regardless of the potential volume of the deposit, which lies more than 35,000 feet beneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, it is unlikely to lead to American oil independence.  According to BP, the Tiber well, once drilling begins, could, increase energy security, " for America, but the company offered nothing in the vein of suggesting that America`s oil independence was even a possibility.


This is likely due to the fact that a percentage of the oil is already spoken for by the Brazilian, state controlled oil company Petrobras.  Their 20% stake in the project ultimately means that oil retrieved off American shores does not necessarily equate to American oil.  Vested at 62%, BP will reap the lion`s share of the Tiber`s output, but BP, which stands for Beyond Petroleum, also has interests beyond American shores.  And BP gets a bit touchy when asked exactly how much of the Tiber oil is scheduled for export " it was a percentage that the representative could not provide.  The remaining 18% of the venture belongs to ConocoPhillips, an American based company that posts their Export Compliance policies on their site: (see Export Control page). 


Essentially, when BP made its September 2nd announcement, it should have also divulged its intentions for the crude.  Texans and fellow U.S. citizens may find the prospect of the Tiber well a bit less appealing when considering the amount of the bounty scheduled for export " not to mention the 20% to Brazil right off the top.  Perhaps such details were left unspoken due to the fear of a public backlash (such as a boycott) against the company.  We can only speculate over the omission, however, of one thing we can be most certain: 


The quest for American oil independence is far from being realized.  Until American oil companies begin taking American interests into account, we will continue to chase the dangling carrot that the concept has become. 


To learn more about the works of Daniel Tegan Marsche, please visit