Also of major concern to the United States and other countries alike are issues related to the need to import oil from other countries, especially from the politically volatile Middle East. Global oil demand just keeps increasing, but proven oil reserves in oil-producing countries outside the Middle East, such as Nigeria, Venezuela, and Mexico, are 70 percent lower than the reserves available in the Middle East. Many commentators have pointed out that even OPEC countries are appearing to exhaust their oil supplies, and oil consumption is outpacing new oil discoveries. In fact, by 2025 all the regions with major oil reserves are projected to possess levels of reserves that are lower than current levels. According to the EIA, there will be a 50 percent increase in global oil demand by 2025, a growth in demand that is double the rate of oil production since 1980.
Six countries, in particular, have grappled with the specific energy issues that have beset the United States, and their experiences with these issues provide interesting case studies, illustrating, in some cases, alternative approaches to the most pressing energy challenges. Also, through their interactions with the United States on specific energy issues, these countries have impacted U.S. economic and political security in substantial ways. These countries are China, Germany, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Venezuela.
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