Expert: Failure of US to Renew Israeli Emergency Oil Pact Will Not Hurt Israel
Energy expert Ed Chow of the Center for Strategic and International Studies downplayed the present day importance of the US emergency oil pact with Israel, in an interview with The Algemeiner on Tuesday.
Chow said that the oil markets are markedly different than in the 1970s when the US first made its pact with Israel. If Israel were to experience a true emergency, it would have greater access to the oil markets than it did 40 years ago.
Chow made the comments amidst concerns that the US might not renew the historic pact with Israel. As reported in Globes on Monday, the US has not yet renewed the agreement. The publication questioned whether the US’s failure to renew the pact was the result of “renewed friction between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the White House.”
Last year, signs pointed to the successful renegotiation of the oil pact.
Israel and the US first entered into the emergency oil pact in 1975. The agreement was formalized in 1979 after the Iranian revolution jolted oil markets. In the event of an emergency, the US agreed to provide the Israel with oil, and even secure transit in certain circumstances. President Clinton renewed the agreement in 1994, as did President Bush in 2004.
Chow explained that the current oil markets are much different than in the 1970s, and if the US decided not to renew the agreement, it is unlikely to impact Israeli security.
“Israel can go into the global market and get oil and petroleum products,” Chow explained. “In the 1970s, it was different. Oil was sold in 5,10 year agreements. People were locked into agreements. That oil world is no longer with us.”
Chow said he understands why current reports would raise eyebrows, but he could not foresee a situation where Israel will not be able to access global markets.
Chow did make it clear that he was “not minimizing the importance the US-Israel agreement at one time,” and added that he cannot imagine a situation in which the US would not help Israel in the event of a true emergency.
Last week, a group of Senators led by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging the renewal of the US-Israel oil pact. The senators called the agreement “a meaningful gesture of support to our friend and ally at this challenging time.”