posted on Jun, 1 2004 @ 06:12 PM
By "US protection" I take it that you mean US military involvement with forces on the ground?
If so, I find this highly unlikely. It took the US years to pull their forces out of Saudi Arabia and there are many reasons why they won't be going
back in a hurry.
In reality, the only way that terrorists can harm Saudi oil production is by striking at the foreign experts who work in this field. The refineries
and pipelines themselves are very well protected and it would take a massive co-ordinated strike by a terrorist organisation to put them offline for
any length of time. It is highly improbable that any extremist group has the ability to pull off such an attack at this time.
Hitting at foreign oil workers does cause problems though. Most of the technical expertise for oil production comes from Western sources. If these
workers feel too insecure to work in Saudi Arabia it is possible that there may be some difficulties within the industry and that production may slow,
thus causing prices to rise. The extra security that has already been put into place also affects the cost of oil.
Al Qaeda has sworn to depose the current Saudi regime. The only way that they will be able to do this is by destroying the Saudi economy. And the only
way to destroy that is by severely damaging the oil industry. The regime is aware of this fact and, although slow to act in the beginning, has
recently accelerated activities against suspected militants and put more stringent security measures in place.
As stated, oil prices will be affected by these measures. But they are not the only thing which causes a rise in prices. Investment is another major
issue and any negative occurence persuades the money to go elsewhere - even a rumour can affect the oil market. Not only that but there is a lot of
economic politics being played. Saudi Arabia itself can make a buck or two by bringing into play some uncertainty over the regular supply of oil.