Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Energy nation

The International Energy Agency (based in France) has put out its 2012 "World Energy Outlook." The seven-page executive summary leads with this bit of good news for American business and its customers (emphasis added):

Energy developments in the United States are profound and their effect will be felt well beyond North America – and the energy sector. The recent rebound in US oil and gas production, driven by upstream technologies that are unlocking light tight oil and shale gas resources, is spurring economic activity – with less expensive gas and electricity prices giving industry a competitive edge – and steadily changing the role of North America in global energy trade. By around 2020, the United States is projected to become the largest global oil producer (overtaking Saudi Arabia until the mid-2020s) and starts to see the impact of new fuel-efficiency measures in transport. The result is a continued fall in US oil imports, to the extent that North America becomes a net oil exporter around 2030. This accelerates the switch in direction of international oil trade towards Asia, putting a focus on the security of the strategic routes that bring Middle East oil to Asian markets. The United States, which currently imports around 20% of its total energy needs, becomes all but self-sufficient in net terms – a dramatic reversal of the trend seen in most other energy importing countries.
Oh, and do not miss the part about Iraq's importance to global energy supply in the decades to come.

Of course, there are entrenched interests (such as the ethanol lobby and the Saudis) and regulators who will try to slow or derail American energy security and prosperity. Do not let them derail Jimmy Carter's dream! (For holiday fun, watch Carter's "MEOW" speech and reflect on how wrong he was.)

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