The Financial Times [subscription] is reporting that the US is poised to become the world’s largest producer of liquid petroleum (oil and natural gas liquids):
US production of oil and related liquids such as ethane and propane was neck-and-neck with Saudi Arabia in June and again in August at about 11.5m barrels a day, according to the International Energy Agency, the watchdog backed by rich countries.
With US production continuing to boom, its output is set to exceed Saudi Arabia’s this month or next for the first time since 1991. […]
Rising oil and gas production has caused the US trade deficit in energy to shrink, and prompted a wave of investment in petrochemicals and other related industries. […] It is also having an impact on global security. Imports are expected to provide just 21 per cent of US liquid fuel consumption next year, down from 60 per cent in 2005.
The reason? Fracking. As Walter Russell Mead points out:
With productivity continuing to rise, the United States has a chance to become the single biggest producer of crude oil sometime in the near future. If you had said that a decade ago, you would’ve been laughed at and called a fool. What a difference fracking makes.
Indeed. The “peak oil” pundits were sure we were on the precipice of running out of oil. Now, it seems, the sky is indeed the limit. Which is why it makes little sense, given the state of climate science, that our President is busily engaged via the UN and other domestic agencies, in throttling back one of the most economically viable growth engines the American economy has at the moment (and for the foreseeable future).
Instead of working on a policy to limit future use of hydrocarbons, this White House should be pushing a policy that helps us safely and sustainably exploit these assets for all. Additionally, while petroleum is indeed a global commodity, this level of production would go a long way toward the promise of energy independence in time of crisis. It helps remove oil as a weapon of choice by various less than friendly states and allies of convenience.
Two winners for the US: economic growth and national security.
Instead we get an attempt to establish an new tax based on specious science.
Sort of par for the course, no pun intended.