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The Enduring Vulnerabilities of Oil Markets

Author: Michael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change
Volume 22, Issue 1, 2013
Security Studies

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Abstract

In "Protecting 'The Prize': Oil and the U.S. National Interest," Eugene Gholz and Daryl G. Press present an important counterargument to many common but overwrought worries about energy security. Yet they themselves go too far in the opposite direction. Gholz and Press argue that only three types of potential oil market disruptions could induce "particularly painful" adjustments and hence rise to the highest level: consolidation of a large fraction of Persian Gulf reserves under a single power, domestic instability in Saudi Arabia, and blockage of the Strait of Hormuz. I argue in this response that Gholz and Press confine the second and third scenarios too narrowly, and hence understate the security risks stemming from U.S. dependence on oil.

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