The Soviet bloc will become an importer of oil by 1985 and a Kremlin decision to use military force to ease its energy problems in this decade cannot be ruled out, Stansfield Turner, director of US Central Intelligence, said Tuesday.
"The entrance of the Soviet Union into the free world's competition for oil not only further squeezes oil supplies available to the West but also entails major security risks," Admiral Turner told the Senate Energy Committee. "Given the advanced age of Soviet leaders, the oil crunch is likely to occur during a large-scale changeover in the Soviet Politburo."
He said the competition for declining world oil supplies would strain relations within both Soviet-bloc nations and industrialized Western powers. "Politically, the cardinal issue is how vicious the struggle for energy supplies will become," he said. "This competition will create a severe test of the cohesiveness of both the Western and Eastern alliances."