The United States has been steadily reducing oil imports
from Saudi Arabia.
Oil analysts said the United States began reducing Saudi oil imports in
2002 in wake of the Al Qaida suicide strikes on New York and Washington in
which 3,000 people were killed. They said the trend has continued over the
last two years.
James Placke, a researcher at Cambridge Energy Research Associates, said
by the end of 2004 Saudi Arabia would lose its position as one of the top
five oil exporters to the United States, Middle East Newsline reported. Placke said the result has been a
sharp drop in U.S. energy dependence on Riyad as well as increasing
criticism by Washington of the kingdom. He cited the State Department
decision last week to designate Saudi Arabia a "country of particular
concern," which could result in sanctions on Riyad.
"What we're seeing is not punishment or retribution, but a realization
that the special relationship is not so special any more," Placke said.