Report by NBC's Mitchell listed four "repugnant" countries U.S. not "willing to do business" with -- but U.S. imports oil from two of themApril 21, 2006 3:53 PM EDT ››› RAPHAEL SCHWEBER-KOREN
On the April 20 broadcast of NBC's Nightly News, a report by chief foreign correspondent Andrea Mitchell falsely suggested that the United States, unlike China, does not import oil from Venezuela and Nigeria. Mitchell quoted Fimat USA senior vice president John Kilduff, who said that China is "willing to do business with a lot of countries that the U.S. would find repugnant." Mitchell provided examples: "Hot spots like Iran, Venezuela, Nigeria, and Sudan." She then reported Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's statement that "[t]here are places that have oil that are using oil as a weapon or using oil as a carrot for -- for certain policies, and that's troubling." However, according the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA), the United States imports significant quantities of oil from Venezuela and Nigeria. In fact, in January 2006, Venezuela was America's second-largest source of imported oil, after Canada.
According to the EIA, the United States imported nearly 550 million barrels of oil from Venezuela in 2005 and nearly 48 million barrels in January 2006. The EIA's "country analysis brief" for Venezuela notes that the South American nation "consistently ranks as one the top suppliers of U.S. oil imports and is among the top ten crude oil producers in the world." The United States imported nearly 419 million barrels of oil from Nigeria in 2005 and nearly 37 million in January 2006.
From the April 20 broadcast of NBC's Nightly News, with anchor and managing editor Brian Williams:
WILLIAMS: Also high on the agenda for the Chinese president's visit, the topic of oil, specifically China's growing appetite for it. Now the U.S. is by far the number one oil consumer in the world. We drink up more than 20 million barrels of it every day. China consumes about a third of that, six and a half million barrels a day. But it's growing, and so the president warned China not to try to lock up the world's supply. More now from NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell.
MITCHELL: Gasoline at more than $3 a gallon.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN [video clip]: Way too expensive. It's unnecessary.
MITCHELL: And in California today, an astonishing 4.29 for premium.
BUSH [video clip]: America is addicted to oil.
MITCHELL: Skyrocketing prices here not only because of U.S. demand, but also rapid-fire growth half a world away. China recently surpassed Japan to become the world's second-largest consumer of oil. This is no longer a nation of bicycles. By 2010, China is expected to have 90 times the number of cars it had in 1990. By 2020, its energy needs will increase by 150 percent. So China is buying oil anywhere it can find it.
KILDUFF [video clip]: They are willing to do business with a lot of countries that the U.S. would find repugnant.
MITCHELL: Hot spots like Iran, Venezuela, Nigeria, and Sudan.
RICE [video clip]: There are places that have oil that are using oil as a weapon or using oil as a carrot for -- for certain policies, and that's troubling.
MITCHELL: China's extraordinary growth is one reason oil supplies are now razor-thin. What used to be a worldwide cushion of 6 million barrels a day four years ago is now down to 1 million barrels. Not enough to withstand a crisis in oil-producing countries. And who's doing more to conserve, China or the U.S.?
ELIZABETH ECONOMY [C.V. Starr senior fellow and director for Asia Studies, Council on Foreign Relations] [video clip]: They have much more ambitious plans than we here in the United States do. They want to have 15 percent of all their energy come from renewable energy sources by 2020.
MITCHELL: What America needs to realize is that the U.S. never before had a huge competitor for the little crude oil that is available -- a competitor that is also growing faster than its supply of energy.