But he said access to energy is not in peril. "Some of the fears around energy security are not well founded," he said.
The quest for energy independence, though, is misguided, he said. It doesn't matter where the U.S. gets oil because crude is priced globally. Even if the U.S. used only oil from North America, a disruption in the Middle East would increase global prices, hurt the U.S. and global economies, and force Americans to pay more at the pump.
Even if the U.S. no longer needed Middle Eastern oil, it would likely want to play a major role in helping maintain the region's security, Tillerson said.
AP writers Seth Borenstein and Dina Cappiello contributed to this story from Washington. Jonathan Fahey can be reached at http://twitter.com/JonathanFahey.
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