Oil is a commodity of basic strategic importance. No modern defence system can be maintained and no wars fought without a great supply of oil. Thus, significant quantities of scarce oil resources are currently being diverted for military purposes, resulting in less constructive uses of natural energy resources for humanitarian purposes.
World War I provided the first practical demonstration of the revolutionary effect of the military use of oil-powered ships, aircraft and vehicles. In World War II, the strategic importance of oil was even more crucial and oil installations were rated among the top-priority targets of attack. The strategic importance of oil has not diminished since then, but rather has increased with the emphasis on the two main characteristics of modern warfare: extensive mechanization and high mobility.