US spends $81 billion a year to protect oil supplies, report estimates
According to a recent Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) report, the U.S. spends around $81 billion per year in protecting the movement of oil supplies around the world, which it calls a “very conservative” estimate that does not include the full cost of oil-related military operations. The estimate argues that the cost of protection results in a de facto $11.25 U.S. subsidy per barrel. The study uses methodologies of other similar studies by the RAND Corporation and others, that arrived at figures of between $27 billion per year in 2004 to $100 billion in 2008. Estimating these figures depends largely on methodology and what is included, as the protection of oil flows also serves many other purposes, and is rarely the primary reason given for any operations. An Admiral and SAFE council co-chair highlights the difficulty, stating “take the example of an aircraft carrier…it performs humanitarian operations, demonstrates a show of force, enforces no-fly zones in the Middle East, fights in wars, and lives for 50 years. How do you allocate its costs across these various missions?” This most recent study has been released as Trump continues to call for action from OPEC countries to stop manipulating oil prices and continued U.S. development of its own oil production, which is on track to become the largest in the world after it surpasses Russia.