OPEC concerned about Bush's energy goals

Feb. 2, 2006 at 12:25 PM   |   Comments

VIENNA, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- The OPEC oil cartel says President George W. Bush's call for reducing U.S. reliance on Middle East oil could hurt investment in Gulf oil and refining output.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries announced plans to make this point in its bulletin next week, reports the Financial Times.

Bush, in his State of the Union address Tuesday, called for the replacement of 75 percent of the U.S. imports from the Middle East with ethanol and other energy sources by 2025.

Responding to that, Nigeria's Energy Minister Edmund Daukoru, who heads OPEC, said: "We do believe that energy issues cannot be handled in a unilateral way; we all have to work together toward global energy security."

One OPEC delegate told the Financial Times: "Comments like that are unrealistic. Everyone knows the world will continue to depend on Middle East imports."

In line with OPEC's concerns, John Felmy, chief economist of the American Petroleum Institute, said: "If one of your big customers tells you they do not want to buy from you in the future, then of course this will impact how much you invest."

The International Energy Agency says the Middle East must invest heavily to continue to meet world demand for energy.

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