While the Obama administration continues to disappoint with their lack of know-how in unburdening our stagnant economy and, painfully recently, in their foreign-policy snafu with Russia, let us instead turn out attention to the private sector which — unsurprisingly — is just doing it better, on both fronts.
According to the WSJ, the United States is well on its way to overtaking Russia as the world’s largest producer of oil and gas combined — which has some serious and likely unwelcome implications for the longstanding clout of other traditionally energy-rich countries, hem hem:
U.S. energy output has been surging in recent years, a comeback fueled by shale-rock formations of oil and natural gas that was unimaginable a decade ago. A Wall Street Journal analysis of global data shows that the U.S. is on track to pass Russia as the world’s largest producer of oil and gas combined this year—if it hasn’t already. …
The U.S. produced the equivalent of about 22 million barrels a day of oil, natural gas and related fuels in July, according to figures from the EIA and the International Energy Agency. Neither agency has data for Russia’s gas output this year, but Moscow’s forecast for 2013 oil-and-gas production works out to about 21.8 million barrels a day.
U.S. imports of natural gas and crude oil have fallen 32% and 15%, respectively, in the past five years, narrowing the U.S. trade deficit. And since the U.S. is such a big consumer of energy, the shift to producing more of its own oil and gas has left substantial fuel supplies available for other buyers. Nations that rely on peddling petroleum for their economic strength and political clout face dwindling market power as a result. Oil prices so far remain high, however, closing Wednesday at $104.10 a barrel, up 18% from a year ago.
Whenever companies and countries freely compete in an open global market, consumers the world over win — but that is a bit of an inconvenience for the powers that be in Moscow, because it’s going to take a significant bite out of the regional energy dominance on which they largely rely for their geopolitical power and economic growth. Although Russia is believed to have one of the planet’s largest untapped oil-bearing shale formations, they have yet to pick up on the hydraulic fracturing technologies that have been the bedrock of America’s shale boom; the balance could eventually swing back the other way (or somewhere entirely different) as more and more countries are looking at taking up the practice, but for the time being, the U.S. is giving Russia and Saudi Arabia some stiff and healthy competition.