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by Dr. David A. Anderson
At the beginning of the 20th century, oil (petroleum) represented four percent of the world's consumed energy. Today oil supplies 40 percent of the world's energy, 96 percent of which is transportation energy . The global demand for oil continues to grow at an alarming and unsustainable rate. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to make meaningful oil discoveries, and known oil reserves are now primarily located in unstable developing nation states or within remote geographic regions far from consuming nations. While nations have always competed for oil, it seems more and more likely that the race for the remaining last big reserves will be the dominant geopolitical theme of the 21st century.
The U.S. is on the verge of a new kind of war—between those who are seeking oil and are increasingly —to go out and secure it, and those determined to disrupt its flow to promote their agenda. As demand for oil increases, as global oil production continues to lag behind demand, as terrorists increasingly target oil production and infrastructure, and as producers such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Nigeria grow more unstable, the struggle to maintain access to adequate energy supplies--always a critical mission for any nation--will become even more challenging and uncertain and will require more resources, political attention, and military intervention to secure.