144. Paper Prepared by the National Security Council Staff1

Agenda Paper for SCC Meeting on the Petroleum Supply Vulnerability Assessment Friday, March 24, 1978 10:30–12:00, Situation Room

The purpose of this SCC meeting is to discuss the principal issues and conclusions arising from those portions of the interagency assessment of petroleum supply vulnerabilities which do not depend on estimates of future supply and demand. Supply and demand-related issues will be addressed at a second SCC meeting2 once analysis of recently acquired information on technical problems in many OPEC oil fields is completed.

More specifically, the aims of this meeting are:

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1. to discuss the progress and general direction of US programs to reduce and to cope with petroleum supply vulnerabilities; and

2. to consider possible new policies further to reduce those vulnerabilities.

The following are the four principal topics for discussion:

A. Supply interruption contingencies for which the U.S. should be prepared. The seriousness of supply interruptions depends upon their probability of occurrence and the degree of damage they are likely to cause. The paper at Tab A3 provides a cross section of scenarios which, although not exhaustive, could plausibly cause interruptions, ranging from loss of a small percentage of the normal Persian Gulf oil flow to a total cutoff. Issues for discussion are: With what types of interruptions should the U.S. be prepared to cope? What types of contingencies should the U.S. plan to deter? What priorities should be assigned to particular contingencies?

B. Military options for preventing oil supply disruptions. At Tab B is a paper4 describing the DOD analysis of military options for dealing with various oil supply interruption scenarios. Some preliminary analysis is embodied in the Persian Gulf section of DOD’s Consolidated Guidance document, and a comprehensive study is underway. Issues for discussion are: What are the primary defense-related national security implications of an oil supply interruption? What progress has been made in the DOD analysis, and what will be done in the future? Are the goals of the DOD study effort consistent with and supportive of the overall oil vulnerability assessment objectives? Should the scope of the study be expanded (or contracted)?

C. Measures for coping with oil supply interruptions. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the International Energy Agency, and oil conservation and rationing contingency plans are the three primary vehicles being developed to ease the effects of any oil supply interruption. Progress with respect to them is described in the paper at Tab C.5 Issues for discussion are: How adequate are existing measures to deal with supply interruptions? What types of contingencies can these measures deal with? What additional measures might be pursued?

D. Measures to strengthen the security of Saudi Arabian and Iranian oil facilities against terrorism. At Tab D6 is a synopsis of two proposals developed by the Department of State, in cooperation with DOD, CIA, and DOE, which details a set of specific initiatives for augmenting the [Page 471] current anti-terrorist programs in Saudi Arabia and Iran. Issues for discussion are: What are the feasibility and desirability of offering such improvements to Saudi Arabia? To Iran? Should the programs offered be equivalent, or are each country’s needs basically different? What is the most logical way to approach each of the governments? Should others (Kuwait, UAE) be included?

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Office File, Box 8, Meeting File, SCC Meeting: #67, Held 3/24/78. Secret. The paper is attached to a March 21 covering memorandum from Staff Secretary Christine Dodson to Vance, Blumenthal, Harold Brown, Schlesinger, Turner, McIntyre, Schultze, and General George S. Brown.
  2. See Document 152.
  3. Attached but not printed.
  4. Not attached, but a copy is in Carter Library, National Security Council, Institutional Files, Box 93, SCC 67: Oil Supply—Vulnerability Assessment, 3/24/78.
  5. Not found.
  6. Attached but not printed.