Jun 4, 2012

Iraq Poised to Be Oil Giant and an Economic Power, Reports New York Times: Consistent with Bible Prophecy?

Joel RosenbergBy Joel C. Rosenberg

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In April, I noted on this blog the nation we know today as the Republic of Iraq—known variously in Scripture as Babel, Babylon, Babylonia, Mesopotamia and Shinar—will emerge as the global center of wealth, power and terrible evil in the End Times, according to Bible prophecy.

In Revelation 18, for example, we learn that Babylon will rise to become the most wealthy place on the face of the planet, and develop into an existential threat to Israel and the Jewish people, and then face divine judgment during the Tribulation. Many cynics and critics over the years have dismissed such Bible prophecies. But those who are wise should be watching for Iraq to: 1) begin rebuilding its offensive military capability; 2) begin rebuilding its economy; 3) continue rebuilding the actual ancient city of Babylon. As I explained in April, all three of these trends are actually currently underway.

Oil field workers

Iraq—Global Economic Superpower?

Now a fascinating story in the New York Times provides fresh evidence that Iraq is poised for explosive economic growth. The article indicates that:

  1. Iraqi oil production has surged from less than 2 million barrels a day in 2003-2004 to nearly 2.5 million barrels a day;
  2. Next year, Iraqi officials believe they will be producing nearly 3 million barrels of oil per day;
  3. In the next five years—by 2017—Iraqi officials project they will be producing upwards of 10 million barrels of oil a day, which if true would put Babylon on par with Saudi Arabia as one of the world’s oil giants.

In a world of high and rising oil prices, this means Iraq could actually become a global economic superpower by the end of the decade, which would be stunningly consistent with Bible prophecy. These are trends worth watching.

Excerpts from the Times story:

“Despite sectarian bombings and political gridlock, Iraq’s crude oil production is soaring, providing a singular bright spot for the nation’s future and relief for global oil markets as the West tightens sanctions on Iranian exports.

The increased flow and vital port improvements have produced a 20 percent jump in exports this year to nearly 2.5 million barrels of oil a day, making Iraq one of the premier producers in OPEC for the first time in decades.

Energy analysts say that the Iraqi boom—coupled with increased production in Saudi Arabia and the near total recovery of Libya’s oil industry—should cushion oil markets from price spikes and give the international community additional leverage over Iran when new sanctions take effect in July.

'Iraq helps enormously,' said David L. Goldwyn, the former State Department coordinator for international energy affairs in the Obama administration. Even if Iraq increased its oil exports by only half of what it is projecting by next year, he said, 'You would be replacing nearly half of the future Iranian supply potentially displaced by tighter sanctions.'

For Iraq, the resurgence of oil, which it is already pumping at rates seen only once—and briefly—since Saddam Hussein took power in 1979, is vital to its postwar success. Oil provides more than 95 percent of the government’s revenues, has enabled the building of roads and the expansion of social services, and has greatly strengthened the Shiite-led government’s hand in this ethnically divided country.

Oil has also brought its share of pitfalls for the fledgling democracy, fostering corruption and patronage, and aggravating tensions with the Kurdish minority in the north over the division of profits, a festering issue that could end up fracturing the country.

The Iraqi government says it can add an additional 400,000 barrels a day of production by next year, and it has announced a goal of producing 10 million barrels a day by 2017, which would put it in a league with Saudi Arabia…."