“The nuclear playing card… would allow Iran to fill a power vacuum in the region and fuel the fires of Islamist movements presently gaining steam in the Arab world.”
The Jerusalem Post Op Ed Page, September 29, 2009.
Oct. 1 marked the 60th anniversary of communist rule in mainland China.
Just four days before the Red Anniversary, China National Petroleum Corp. signed a contract with National Iranian Oil Co. to develop Iran’s massive South Azadegan oilfield.
Azadegan is the world’s largest oilfield discovered in the past 30 years. It has reserves of 42 billion barrels of oil—double the combined oil reserves in all of the United States.
China now owns 70 percent of this elephant oilfield. All that oil in the heart of Iran will go a long way to satisfying China’s unquenchable thirst for petroleum.
Already Iran provides 14 percent of China’s oil demand, but that total will rise sharply as this unholy alliance strengthens.
“China is looking for a landline connection to the Persian Gulf or endeavoring to create a ‘string of pearls’ chain of naval facilities between itself and the Strait of Hormuz,” warns Thomas P. M. Barnett in his just published book, Great Powers, America and the World After Bush.
By 2030 China will be buying 6 million barrels of oil per day from the Persian Gulf. That is twice what the United States is expected to import from the region. A vast amount of China’s Middle Eastern oil will come from Iran.
In fact the Obama administration has been left begging for Beijing’s diplomatic support on Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Without it, the United States faces the unpleasant task of fighting another Middle East war. But Iran won’t be the push-over that Iraq was.
“Armed with a vast array of anti-ship and long-range missiles, Iran can target U.S. troop positions throughout the Middle East and strike U.S. Navy ships,” wrote Jephraim P. Gundzik in a 2005 Asia Times article.
“Iran can also use its weapons to blockade the Straits of Hormuz through which one-third of the world’s traded oil is shipped. With the help of Beijing and Moscow, Tehran is becoming an increasingly unappealing military target for the U.S.,” concluded Gundzik.
Unappealing? Yes. Unavoidable? Probably not.
Even the Obama administration understands nuke-toting mullahs in Iran will jeopardize peace in the Middle East and America’s economic security.
Saddam All Over Again
Two years ago Cynthia Tucker wrote in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Should (or would) the United States invade a foreign country for its oil?”
“Of course we would,” wrote Tucker. “We’ve already supported coups, sent armies and invaded at least one country to protect our access to petroleum.”
Make that two if you count Kuwait.
Tucker points to former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s memoirs.
“I’m saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows—the Iraq war is largely about oil,” wrote Greenspan.
Greenspan, the mother of all doves, even advised the Bush administration to invade Iraq.
"My view is that Saddam, looking over his 30-year history, very clearly was giving evidence of moving toward controlling the Straits of Hormuz, where there are 17, 18, 19 million barrels a day moving through,” Greenspan said.
That invasion was based on unjustified fears that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Seven years later it is almost universally understood that Iran is a short time away from building a nuclear warhead, with a ballistic missile system already on the launch pad.
All the while America faces a growing energy crisis. The U.S. is currently pumping less than 5 million barrels of oil per day. The last time the nation pumped such a frugal amount of crude was when Truman was President. Yet the situation is only going to get worse.
In just a decade the U.S. will be importing more than 90 percent of the oil it burns.
A lot of that oil will come from the Middle East; but only if the region is stable and at peace. This is becoming less likely as the revolutionaries in Iran continue to make their nuclear grab. A development which doesn’t seem to cause the least bit of concern to the world’s other superpower, China.
This is because China’s Cadillac economy is backed up by Pinto-like resources. That means that the nation that was enslaved by Mao Zedong will do whatever is necessary to provide oil to its masses, even if it means war.
The lessons of history are not lost on the Chinese. Poor planning by Mao resulted in The Great Chinese Famine. The result of that was 60 million dead Chinese. It’s a mistake the Chinese won’t make again, even if they have to counter the U.S. in a war.
Crude Profits for the Taking
The clock is ticking down on Iran. With China throwing its money and weight behind Tehran, it is certain they won’t bend to the United Nations (UN).
This sets the stage for a preemptive military attack on Iran by the U.S.
Meanwhile Israel remains a wildcard.
Military action by either the U.S. or Israel would quickly push crude oil past $100 per barrel and perhaps as high as $150 per barrel. This would be incredibly damaging to bonds and Big Board stocks.
This Talisman Offers Real Protection
Yet there are steps you can take to protect yourself financially.
One of my favorite petroleum stocks is Talisman Energy Inc. (NYSE:TLM).
Talisman passes the Goldilocks test, not too big and not too small. Its market cap of $17.5 billion is a far cry from Exxon Mobil and its $332 billion market cap. But Talisman is big enough to offer plenty of liquidity and it attracts institutional investors. And unlike Exxon Mobil and their multi-national brethren, Talisman is not burdened with downstream oil operations.
Talisman, headquartered just a couple of miles from my office in Calgary, Alberta, offers a ton of leverage to rising oil prices.
Finally Talisman’s properties are far removed from Koran-carrying maniacs. The company drills for and pumps crude oil and natural gas primarily in North America, with some operations in the United Kingdom, Scandinavia and Southeast Asia.
Action to take: Call your stock broker and buy shares in Talisman Energy (NYSE, TLM) at market.
Yours for real wealth and good health,
Myers’ Energy and Gold Report