The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

What Energy Progress Looks Like

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 26, 2012

Interesting piece by the Washington Post’s Robert Samuelson, analyzing America’s energy future in light of new government figures showing increased domestic oil and natural gas production:

“Despite big gains in energy efficiency and increases in ‘renewables’ (wind, solar, biofuels), fossil fuels will remain the mainstay of America’s energy system for years. In 2010, fossil fuel represented 83 percent of U.S. energy consumption, with oil at 37 percent, natural gas at 25 percent and coal at 21 percent. Although total energy use grows only 10 percent between 2010 and 2035, the fossil-fuel share stays high at 77 percent in 2035. Oil is 32 percent, natural gas 25 percent and coal 20 percent.”

Here’s a chart developed from data in the Energy Information Administration’s early release of its 2012 Annual Energy Outlook, in which EIA projects that U.S. liquid fuels supplied by global sources other than Canada (orange) will decrease between now and 2030:

Now, take a look at this chart – specifically, at what happens to imports from sources other than Canada:

They disappear! It’s not magic; it’s not a mistake. By 2024, the United States could see 100 percent of its liquid fuel needs supplied domestically (including biofuels) and from Canada. Here’s the how:

  • Open access to federal lands and offshore areas that currently are off-limits to oil and natural gas production – reversing current policy that has resulted in a decline in federal acres leased for development and decreased offshore production.
  • Build the Keystone XL pipeline, linking Canada’s oil sands with U.S. refiners, delivering up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day from a neighbor and ally.
  • Fully utilize Canada’s vast oil sands resource, with the Keystone XL and other pipelines.

It’s within our reach. All we need are the policies and leadership to make it happen. Samuelson:

“What does the future hold? It may be better than you think. … The energy outlook isn’t half bad. With common sense, it could be even better.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.