Category Archives: Iraq

Three Trillion Dollars Spent in Iraq?

Long time readers of Econbrowser know that I have tabulating US direct outlays in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and operations thereafter. Imagine my surprise when in The Commander in Chief Forum, Donald J. Trump stated that we’d spent three trillion dollars. This prompted me to refer to actual, real-world, data. As far as I can tell, three trillion is not a number that exists in reality.

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World oil supply and demand

According to the Energy Information Administration’s Monthly Energy Review database, world field production of crude oil in September was up 1.5 million barrels a day over the previous year. More than all of that came from a 440,000 b/d increase in the U.S., 550,000 b/d from Saudi Arabia, and 900,000 b/d from Iraq. If it had not been for the increased oil production from these three countries, world oil production would actually have been down almost 400,000 b/d over the last year.
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Maugeri on peak oil

Carpe Diem, Reuters, FTalphaville, and WhaleOil are among those calling attention to a new paper by Leonardo Maugeri, senior manager for the Italian oil company Eni, and Senior Fellow at Harvard University, which concluded:

Contrary to what most people believe, oil supply capacity is growing worldwide at such an unprecedented level that it might outpace consumption. This could lead to a glut of overproduction and a steep dip in oil prices.

Based on original, bottom-up, field-by-field analysis of most oil exploration and development projects in the world, this paper suggests that an unrestricted, additional production (the level of production targeted by each single project, according to its schedule, unadjusted for risk) of more than 49 million barrels per day of oil (crude oil and natural gas liquids, or NGLs) is targeted for 2020, the equivalent of more than half the current world production capacity of 93 mbd. [After factoring in risk factors and depletion rates of currently producing oilfields], the net additional production capacity by 2020 could be 17.6 mbd, yielding a world oil production capacity of 110.6 mbd by that date.

Here I take a look at some of the details of Maugeri’s analysis.

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The Trillion Dollar War of Choice, and the Constraints on Macro Policy

Or at least $805.6 billion as of the end of September, not including debt service and additional reset costs; around $940 billion including interest payments.

As the US economy faces the prospects of stagnant growth or recession, it is of interest to see why the scope for fiscal policy is so circumscribed — that is why is the debt level so high given that in the last year of the Clinton Administration, we were paying down debt? Figure 1 depicts part of the answer (other parts, here).

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