American energy independence is right around the corner and the country is set to become the world’s oil and gas superpower. This could be the era of American energy dominance, thanks to the advent of hydraulic fracturing — or fracking.
BP Global expects that the U.S. will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer this year due to rising production from fracking. On top of that, U.S. oil imports will fall nearly 75 percent through 2035. This will diminish OPEC’s influence on world oil markets and dampen their abilities to manipulate prices — something the global oil cartel is fretting over.
Natural gas from shale is expected to account for 68 percent of U.S. gas production by 2035, and North American natural gas is expected to make up 71 percent of the world’s shale gas production by 2035, according to BP.
Shale resources have dramatically lowered energy prices, helping to spur a sort of manufacturing renaissance in the U.S. — something even Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel can get behind.
“Cheap energy — the revolution that’s going on in America’s heartland on energy — is making sure that America now has a manufacturing renaissance,” Emanuel, President Obama’s former chief of staff told CNBC’s Squawk Box.
“Washington is not talking about this,” Emanuel added. “The biggest revolution equal to the Internet is the energy independence in the United States.”
Emanuel is sort of right — many Washington politicians don’t talk about the shale boom. But there is one politician who has not been shy to take credit for the energy boom — despite his administration’s attempts to stymie oil and gas development.
“In the meantime, the natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence,” Obama said in his 2013 State of the Union Address. “That’s why my administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits.”
The federal government has had almost nothing to do with the oil boom that has been going on for the last few years. In fact, the feds have only been detrimental to energy production. While oil and gas production soared on private property and state lands, production on federal lands has withered.
The Congressional Research Service found last year that all of the increased crude oil production “from FY2007 to FY2012 took place on non-federal lands.” Natural gas production on federal lands fell by 33 percent from 2007 to 2012, while production on private and state lands grew by 40 percent.
The benefits of the energy boom go beyond the broader economy. Such benefits can be seen driving through the hard hit areas of rural America. In Pennsylvania, once struggling farms can now afford to rebuild dilapidated barns or buy brand new tractors with royalty payments from gas companies.
More importantly, fracking is giving younger generations economic opportunity and a future. They no longer have to leave their hometowns, never to return, in order to find employment. For example, they can take over the now viable family farm or even go work for drilling companies operating in the area.
For decades, politicians and environmentalists said that we were running out of oil, and renewable energy was the key to weaning the U.S. off of foreign oil. But it was the ingenuity of the private sector and the willingness of states to develop valuable energy resources that have rebooted the country’s energy sector and put the U.S. on the path to energy dominance.
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