Posted January 17, 2014
David Ignatius has an important column in the Washington Post this week on America’s energy boom –the result of greatly expanded domestic oil and natural gas production and an “all of the above” approach to energy policy. Ignatius writes:
For decades, Americans have talked about “energy policy” as if it were the political equivalent of a migraine. The phrase connoted pain — in ever-rising gas prices, costly government schemes and dependence on imports from precarious Middle East regimes. But recent developments involving energy production and technology have been so astonishing that they should puncture this long-running pessimism. The amazing fact is that, on nearly every front, America’s energy prospects have improved in ways that would have been unimaginable just a decade ago. In the energy marketplace, President Obama’s vision of an “all of the above” strategy is actually happening. Production of oil, gas and alternative energy is rising, even as demand begins falling for these energy sources — all thanks to new technology. The market forces driving these changes are so powerful that even politicians probably can’t screw them up.
Ignatius highlights data we’ve previously seen from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), projecting that the U.S. will produce nearly 9.6 million barrels of oil per day by 2016, a level not seen since 1970 – thanks largely to vast shale deposits and advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. Natural gas production, he writes, is expected to increase 56 percent between 2012 and 2040 – again, thanks to shale and fracking – while playing a major role in sharply reducing U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide. The nexus between increased natural gas use and a better environment, he says, is “indisputable.” Ignatius concludes:
It’s an almost ridiculously upbeat story. Thanks to rising domestic production and falling demand, U.S. dependence on foreign energy imports will fall to just 4 percent in 2040, compared with 30 percent in 2005. And we haven’t even talked about the strategic implications of this energy independence and reduced vulnerability to Middle East turmoil. It’s hard to give up our view of energy as a national headache, but these startling forecasts suggest the energy future is, dare we say it, rather bright.
Ignatius’ piece prompted this tweet from U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz:
America is in a stronger position if it produces more of the energy needed to run the economy and our modern daily lives here at home. With EIA projecting that oil and natural gas will supply 62 percent of our energy in 2040, the wise choice is to develop our domestic oil and natural gas reserves, safely and responsibly – while we pursue a broad mix of energy sources. Oil and natural gas are America’s energy present and future – because of their availability, reliability, portability and energy density. Together with renewables, nuclear, coal and other energy sources, oil and natural gas are making the U.S. more energy secure now and will do so in the future.
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.