U.S. has cut back on Saudi oil imports since 2002

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

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.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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