U.S. on track to become a net fuel exporter for the first time in 62 years

posted at 7:15 pm on November 30, 2011 by Tina Korbe

In 2011, the United States could become a net exporter of petroleum products — gasoline, diesel and other oil-based fuels — for the first time in 62 years. Don’t confuse this with, “U.S. on track to become energy independent.” The fuels we export are at least partly dependent on the oil we import. The possibility for energy independence is there — but the administration’s policies will likely continue to conspire to hamstring domestic energy production.

Nevertheless, this is still an important milestone, as The Wall Street Journal reports:

So long as the U.S. remains the world’s biggest net importer of crude oil, currently taking in nine million barrels per day, it isn’t likely to become energy independent anytime soon. Yet its growing presence as an overall exporter of fuels made from crude gives it greater influence in the global energy market.

If the trend toward net exports persists, it could also influence the national political debate over U.S. energy policy, which has been driven primarily by concerns about upheaval in the Middle East over the past decade. The independence of the U.S. from foreign oil sources has long been a lightning-rod issue in Washington, one further inflamed by last year’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Supporters of off-shore drilling have used the desire for independence to push their cause, setting up a battle with environmental groups and others who prefer a shift away from carbon-based fuels.

The growth in exports is part of a “transformation of the energy system,” says Ed Morse, global head of commodity research at Citigroup Inc. “It’s the beginning signs of a process that will continue for the next decade and will point toward energy independence.”

The reversal raises the prospect of the U.S. becoming a major provider of various types of energy to the rest of the world, a status that was once virtually unthinkable. The U.S. already exports vast amounts of coal, and companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp. are pursuing or exploring plans to liquefy newly abundant natural gas and send it overseas.

“Newly abundant natural gas” might just be an understatement. As Oklahoma-City-based Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon once put it, the United States could easily become the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. Enough natural gas lurks beneath the surface of shale and other formations to fuel the United States for 200+ years.

Unfortunately, far from reassuring non-solar-and-wind-energy production companies of a stable work environment, the administration continues to create a climate of uncertainty for oil and natural gas companies, with an ineffective permitting process and costly, ill-advised regulations. While these companies continue to innovate and demonstrate American ingenuity, developing new technologies that allow us to access natural gas as never before, the Department of Energy wastes tax dollars on solar companies like Solyndra.

That the U.S. might soon be a net fuel exporter is a testament to the productivity of American companies — and an exhortation to explore the realistic possibilities for actual energy independence.


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Not if the Democrats have anything to do with it.

Nessuno on November 30, 2011 at 7:17 PM

That’s fracking awesome! I sure hope they start pumping the Utica Shale soon; we’ve got 400 acres down there!

cynccook on November 30, 2011 at 7:17 PM

Drill!

peski on November 30, 2011 at 7:18 PM

Obama is the single largest producer of passed gas.

John the Libertarian on November 30, 2011 at 7:19 PM

the left (Obama, Democrats, MSM) will prevent this at all costs…

AUINSC on November 30, 2011 at 7:22 PM

Sounds good.

OT BUT IMPORTANT:24hgold has the goods on Holder!!</strong>

abobo on November 30, 2011 at 7:22 PM

Obama is the single largest producer of passed gas.

John the Libertarian on November 30, 2011 at 7:19 PM

Indeed.

cynccook on November 30, 2011 at 7:23 PM

Today, the Goddess of Capitalism is Smiling!

Mutnodjmet on November 30, 2011 at 7:23 PM

So when do I stop paying #3.80/gal for gas…?

Seven Percent Solution on November 30, 2011 at 7:25 PM

Opps… $3.80/gal

Seven Percent Solution on November 30, 2011 at 7:27 PM

Funny enough, our only growth industries are the ones Democrats are trying to kill.

Apologetic California on November 30, 2011 at 7:29 PM

We export but I, like 7 %, pay damn near 4 bones a gallon?

Winning!

BallisticBob on November 30, 2011 at 7:29 PM

So when do I stop paying #3.80/gal for gas…?

Seven Percent Solution on November 30, 2011 at 7:25 PM

January 2013, God willing!

Static21 on November 30, 2011 at 7:31 PM

Great, more dead Polar Bears.

Thank you, rethuglikkkan tea baggers, thank you for killing Mother Gaia with your 21st century black death.

Bishop on November 30, 2011 at 7:36 PM

A silver lining around the black… er, dark… errr, totally not lilly white cloud hanging over our economy?

Hog Wild on November 30, 2011 at 7:43 PM

cynccook on November 30, 2011 at 7:17 PM

Utica? That is even better, because that shale play has lots of NGL’s in the gas (Natural Gas Liquids) which is more valuable than oil & gas.

It causes this kind of investment, which Perry recognizes, but has not put out yet.

http://theadvocate.com/news/1452407-123/sasol-exploring-4.5-billion-ethylene

It is not just for fuel, but raw feedstock. The article is incorrect in that the natural gas is used to fuel the immense furnaces and the NGL’s or Naphtha from nearby refineries, as the feedstock to convert into ethylene, propylene and in some plants acetylene. Those are fairly high paying jobs of around an average of $75K per year for hourly workers. I know many who are paid over $100K annually as hourly workers.

Kermit on November 30, 2011 at 7:50 PM

They are exporting fuel while we are going broke trying to fill our tanks? We need policies that will drive down the global prices.

Buddahpundit on November 30, 2011 at 7:53 PM

Not to worry, The Won will put a stop to it.

Cindy Munford on November 30, 2011 at 7:54 PM

Who was that idiot that kept talking about Drill, baby, drill? About energy independence? About building a natural gas pipeline to bring gas to the lower 48? Oh, forget about it…just came to mind, that’s all!

milemarker2020 on November 30, 2011 at 7:59 PM

That the U.S. might soon be a net fuel exporter is a testament to the productivity of American companies

Until other countries decide it’s in their best interest to build their own refineries. Rocket science, it ain’t.

GarandFan on November 30, 2011 at 8:26 PM

The problem we have is that we do not produce as much energy as we consume in the forms we consume them. We need to drill for oil and at least build the capacity to produce every single drop of oil we consume.

astonerii on November 30, 2011 at 8:56 PM

So, we are on track to having excess refinement capacity?

Count to 10 on November 30, 2011 at 9:32 PM

Damn, that oil derrick is pretty!

AshleyTKing on November 30, 2011 at 10:05 PM

We’re exporting our petroleum fuels to foreign countries who loathe us while the already obscenely wealthy oil executives further enrich themselves, further enrich their already multimillionaire/multibillionaire bond holders, and further slather the already affluent palms of those Politicians whom dwell within the dank inky-black depths of the oil industries pockets… and I’m still paying $3.899 per gallon for regular unleaded.

Call me selfish. But I grow exceedingly tired of making sacrifices for everyone and everything that I am the least-to-none beholden to.

FlatFoot on November 30, 2011 at 10:51 PM

Maybe it is time for a rural gasification program like we used to have for rural electrification. Millions of homes are still heated with oil because natural gas is not available in their area. Rather than pursue energy independence with worthless solar projects or wind boondoggles, we could get the natural gas lines in place to use our abundent and cheap natural gas to replace a lot of imported oil used for heating.

KW64 on November 30, 2011 at 10:51 PM

Obama is the single largest producer of passed gas.
John the Libertarian on November 30, 2011 at 7:19 PM

Nonsense. That honor easily and obviously rests with the First Lady O.

davisbr on December 1, 2011 at 5:43 AM

We’re importing 9 million barrels a day of crude and exporting gasoline, diesel, and other oil-based fuels.

Doesn’t that argue for building more REFINERIES in the USA, whose main function is to turn crude oil into fuels? We could sell the fuels and use the money to buy crude. We could provide jobs to Americans to operate and maintain the refineries. We could supply more raw materials to the American plastics industry.

But Obumbler can’t handle their carbon footprint, so he stomps his jackboot on those EEEEEEEEEVIL refineries…

Steve Z on December 1, 2011 at 11:15 AM

Great, more dead Polar Bears.

Thank you, rethuglikkkan tea baggers, thank you for killing Mother Gaia with your 21st century black death.

Bishop on November 30, 2011 at 7:36 PM

Funny, I’ve seen a photo of a very alive grizzly bear walking on an oil pipeline near Prudhoe Bay. He/she found it easier than sinking into muddy tundra.

Steve Z on December 1, 2011 at 11:21 AM