Obama’s security adviser: US oil boom won’t lessen Mideast focus

National Security Adviser Tom Donilon said Wednesday that falling U.S. oil imports will not bring a corresponding reduction in the country’s diplomatic and security focus on the Middle East and elsewhere.

“Reduced energy imports do not mean the United States can or should disengage from the Middle East or the world,” he said in New York City, according to prepared remarks.

“Global energy markets are part of a deeply interdependent world economy. The United States continues to have an enduring interest in stable supplies of energy and the free flow of commerce everywhere,” Donilon said at Wednesday’s launch of Columbia University's Center on Global Energy Policy.

The United States now imports roughly 40 percent of its petroleum (though the level is higher when looking at crude oil specifically). Petroleum imports were 60 percent in 2005.

The comments were part of a wide-ranging speech (available here) focused on the economic and geopolitical ramifications of the U.S. oil and natural gas production boom.

Elsewhere, the speech explored how the United States will try to avoid tensions as nations seek to take advantage of Arctic resources and shipping routes emerging due to melting ice.

From the speech:

The Arctic is another place where the potential for new supplies of energy and new shipping routes could lead to rising tensions. So far, that has not been the case and the United States looks forward to meeting with our partners in the eight-country Arctic Council next month, which we value as a forum for open and collaborative dialogue among littoral states on a range of Arctic issues. The United States will promote productive dialogue to address international disputes in the region as they arise on issues from transportation to resource claims. As ice caps melt, shipping routes open and energy supplies are made more accessible, the United States will work to ensure open access and transit, rules-based resolution of territorial disputes and adherence to the highest environmental standards.