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Middle East Studies-A Reflection:Riches Beneath the Earth

Jenkins Macedo
Prof. Mohamed Eskandari
Chapter 6 Reaction Paper
March 14 2010

Riches Beneath the Earth

The Middle East is well noted for its riches in natural minerals deposited in the region as a result of geologic processes over the period of Earth’s History. This chapter is focused on the enormous wealth of the region in the form of petroleum, natural gas resources in the form of associated and non-associated gases, which add on the region’s historical development and influences on the global economy, geopolitics, cultures and development. The presence of natural minerals and gases in the Middle East are associated with the deposition of sediments throughout geologic time scale, which are directly linked to the movement of oceanic and continental plates through the process of plate tectonics.
The chapter also discussed the riches beneath the earth’s surface in several sub-headings such as the historical development of petroleum in the region, patterns of reserves associated with each country, the influences associated with the production of petroleum and comparisons of the production of petroleum in each country in the Middle East. Also, the chapter discussed the major oil producing facilities in the region, which include but not limited to pipelines, terminals and refineries. Also, markets and marketing are also important components of the chapter as it involves geopolitical, political, cultural, and economic and social influences in the region and globally. A significant part of the chapter dealt touched on the formation and operation of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which was established in September, 1960 as a result of a meeting held in Baghdad to manage and control the prices of oil from the region and other members of the organization. As a result of the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, the formation of a parallel sister organization basically composed of all the Arab nations in the region was established and this group is known as the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC). The last section of the chapter discussed other minerals that are essentially found in the region which also have both local and global significance. Such minerals are classified as solid fuels, metals, and nonmetal.
Over the last few centuries, natural resources in the form of petroleum, natural gas and petroleum products constitute vast amount of the items produced from the region. At the 1999 and 2001 average production rate, the Middle East is able to produce petroleum products for the next ninety-two years. There has been no recent discovery of new oil fields in the region as of recent years. As such, oil-producing countries of the Middle East know how important and crucial the singularity of their resources is to their wellbeing and the fate of the world. The oil producing nations are informed of the significant external influences associated with the production, transportation, distribution and marketing of their resources.
However, civil unrest, political upheavals, wars, tribal tension, natural disasters are also factors that seem to have impact on the production of these resources in the region. The Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, the Gulf War in the 1990s, the invasion of Iraq in 2001 by a US lead coalition forces caused just to name a few have significant decreases on the net production of these natural resources and also negatively impacted on the local and global prices of oil and other natural resources.
Besides petroleum, the production and utilization of natural gas have been the epicenter of economic mineral activities in the Middle East (Held, 2003). The region also contains significant amount of mineral deposits that caused attention to be shifted on the region. For example, Turkey, Iran and Cyprus all lies along the mineralized Fold Belt that has long produced significant amount of solid minerals. Fold Belts are usually located in areas where two plates collide as a result of plates’ movement along subduction zones. Jordan, Syria, Israel, Egypt and Iraq produce potential amounts of phosphate from the Dead Sea; whereas, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are planning to revive and expand the mining of solid minerals in the form of crystalline.


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