Posted October 4, 2013
Two charts and some incredible, bordering on the unbelievable, good news for America’s energy present and future, as well as our security in the decades to come.
First, a familiar chart below from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook for 2013:
It shows that our wonderful, modern economy, which makes us strong as a nation while providing opportunity for individuals and families to grow and prosper, is primarily fueled by oil and natural gas (62 percent) and will be fueled primarily by them in the foreseeable future – 60 percent of our energy in 2040: reliable, abundant energy that makes our lives more comfortable, healthier and mobile.
Now, the really good news: America is pulling into the global lead in terms of oil and natural gas production. EIA estimates that the U.S. will be the world’s top producer in 2013, vaulting past Russia and moving well ahead of Saudi Arabia. EIA’s chart:
“Since 2008, U.S. petroleum production has increased 7 quadrillion Btu, with dramatic growth in Texas and North Dakota. Natural gas production has increased by 3 quadrillion Btu over the same period, with much of this growth coming from the eastern United States. Russia and Saudi Arabia each increased their combined hydrocarbon output by about 1 quadrillion Btu over the past five years. … Total petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbon production estimates for the United States and Russia for 2011 and 2012 were roughly equivalent – within 1 quadrillion Btu of one another. In 2013, however, the production estimates widen out, with the United States expected to outproduce Russia by 5 quadrillion Btu.
Yes, Saudi Arabia remains the leader in oil reserves, but U.S. production is surging into the world lead due to the development of unconventional reserves of oil and natural gas in shale and other tight-rock formations – thanks to hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. The U.S. energy revolution / renaissance is directly tied to recent advances in fracking and drilling technology that are being pioneered in the places EIA mentions: Texas, North Dakota and the eastern U.S. (Marcellus and Utica shales).
That production is making the U.S. more energy secure while impacting global markets in ways beneficial to America. In about half a decade the United States’ energy narrative has flipped from scarcity and limitation to one of abundance and opportunity. EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal (subscription publication):
“This is a remarkable turn of events. This is a new era of thinking about market conditions, and opportunities created by these conditions, that you wouldn’t in a million years have dreamed about.”
More good news. The ongoing energy revolution can grow, producing more of the energy we need, reducing imports and making our country less vulnerable to geopolitical events. With increased access to U.S. reserves, onshore and offshore (where 87 percent of federal acreage remains closed to development), sensible regulation and policies that encourage energy investment, we can produce more oil and natural gas here at home, spurring job creation and economic growth. Call it America’s gift – to herself.
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.