Saturday, March 03, 2007

US Military Oil Consumption Abroad

For 8 years now I have been looking for a chart showing the US military oil consumption abroad, like the one above. I came to the conclusion that there exists none. Why? Probably because of the reason that the Department of Defense does not know how much oil its military services consume in continental US (CONUS) and abroad (OCONUS).

Compiling the US military oil consumption data is a big pain. Believe me. It is relatively easy to find here and there total oil consumption figures. Like the country oil reserves numbers you have to have suspicions. Why? For example, can anyone explain me the real reasons for the discrepancy in DoD oil consumption numbers between the Federal Energy Management Report (FEMR) of the DOE and the Fact Book of the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC)? I mean why the DESC net oil sales figures are much higher than FEMR site delivered oil consumption figures?

O.K. one is site delivered oil and the other not. One includes this and the other not etc. But tell me how come in some years the discrepancy is as small as 2 million barrels per year (for example in 2005) and in some others as big as 17 million barrels (for example in 2002 and 2006)? The discrepancy in 2006 is more or less 50,000 barrels per day, as much as what the US military consumes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

True, it is not my soup. DoD officials can cite FEMR figures to show how successful they are in reducing oil consumption (read, they are reducing their oil use) but cite DESC figures to show how important oil is to military and how painful it is to live with high oil prices. Fine with me. As I said it is not my soup.

What I care is to know how much oil the US military consumes abroad. Because I know that that amount does not show up in world oil demand statistics. I hear you saying, come on, give me a break, why the hell you bother yourself with peanuts. Then tell me what is peanuts and what not? 1 million barrels per day? 500,000 barrels per day? 100,000 barrels per day? Oh please do not use percentages in your answer! By using percentages I can give you dozens of proofs that Fiscal Year 2008 DoD budget ($623 billion) is also peanuts.

I wrote here on my blog many times that I do not take DESC or any other official estimate at face value as far as US military oil consumption is concerned. I wrote here also that for example official figures do not take into account oil consumed by DoD contractors (read, the ones in Iraq) as well as not purchased but consumed oil (i.e., given for free, in kind etc, read Kuwait and some other Gulf states). A long and deep subject indeed.

Now, let me go back to my chart. Do not take that at face value either. But note that I constructed that chart by using official US government figures coming from many different publications. I made also some assumptions. For instance, I assumed that 80% of fuel oil reported to be consumed by DOD facilities in FEMR is consumed in CONUS and 20% in OCONUS. My total US military oil consumption figure is DESC net oil sales. I also assumed that CONUS oil consumption in 2006 is the same as the one in 2005. I further assumed Navy and Air Force bunker fuel consumption is OCONUS.

You can question these assumptions of course.

The chart shows that starting from the year 2002 more than half of US military oil was consumed abroad. This share reached 60% in 2006.

How about 2007? Has to go up.

Each day almost 700 barrels of fuel is offloaded from refueling tankers in the air in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yes peanuts. In the past three months only, fuel use at Balad Air Base in Iraq ranged from 3 to 3.6 million gallons (around 2800 barrels per day), the highest in 3 years. Count the other bases and sum them up. It is that simple.

But next year the DOD will tell that 2007 was another successful year in reducing oil consumption.


At 4:50 PM, Blogger Military Observer said...

Wow those figures are startling!

I actually am starting to write something on the cost of transporting fuel in Iraq and how its so insane.


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