From John Shannon who writes about green energy, sustainable development and economics. Email him at john[AT]borderstan.com
Earlier this year,Â President Barack ObamaÂ sent me a letter outlining theÂ Administrationâ€™s energy goals. In it, he laid out his ambitious plans to decrease dependence on foreign oil imports, increaseÂ oil and gas explorationÂ and extraction, lower the fuel prices paid by consumers and set historic fuel-efficiency standards for U.S. cars and trucks. Below is a short excerpt of the letter which you can read in full atÂ johnbrianshannon.com
Â March 21, 2012
Thank you for writing.Â I appreciate hearing from you, and I share the vision of millions of Americans who want to take control of our Nationâ€™s energy future.Â My Administrationâ€™s all-of-the-above energy strategy is about developing every source of American energyâ€”a strategy aimed at saving families and businesses money at the pump by reducing our reliance on foreign oil, expanding oil and gas production, and positioning theÂ United StatesÂ as the global leader in clean energy.
The hard truth is there are no overnight solutions to our energy challenges.Â The only way to deal with this problem is through a sustained, serious, all-of-the-above approach.Â Under my Administration, American oil production is at its highest level in 8 years, and we are now less reliant on foreign oil than in any of the past 16 years.Â We have more working oil and gas rigs than the rest of the world combined, and we have opened up millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration where appropriate and where it can be done safely.Â My Administration has also approved dozens of new pipelines to move oil around, including from Canada, which will help create jobs and encourage more energy production.Â Thanks to our Nationâ€™s booming oil production, more efficient vehicles, and a world-class refining sector that last year was a net exporter for the first time in 60 years, we cut net imports by 10 percentâ€”or a million barrels a dayâ€”in the last year alone.
Only eight months later, on November 12th, theÂ International Energy AgencyÂ reported that the United States had suddenly moved from a country historically dependent on foreign oil, to a net exporter. But that is just the beginning. According to the IEA the United States will become theÂ worldâ€™s largest oil producer by 2017Â – surpassing even Saudi Arabia.Â Reuters saidÂ the IEA annual long-term report surprised top IEA analysts:
â€śEnergyÂ developments in the United States are profound and their effect will be felt well beyond North America â€“ and the energy sectorâ€ť
â€śThe recent rebound in US oil and gas production, driven by upstream technologies that are unlocking light tight oil and shale gas resources, is spurring economic activity â€“ with less expensive gas and electricity prices giving industry a competitive edge.â€ť
â€śThe United States, which currently imports around 20 percent of its total energy needs, becomes all but self-sufficient in net terms â€“ a dramatic reversal of the trend seen in most other energy importing countries.â€ť
â€śThe Chief Economist for the IEA said the US would far surpass Russia as the worldâ€™s largest gas producer by 2015 and become the worldâ€™s largest oil producer by 2017.â€ť
FormerÂ President George W. BushÂ was completely right when he declared, “America, isÂ addicted to oil.â€ť Sadly, that hasÂ notÂ changed. But instead of staying with the status-quo (perilously dependent on foreign oil) theÂ Obama AdministrationÂ decided early-on to keep billions of dollars of oil & gas investment, jobs, profits and other related economic activityÂ hereÂ for the benefit of North Americans. And that, my friends –Â isÂ historic change for the better.