The American journey from energy dependence to independence has been a riveting tale. Marked by geopolitical tensions, gasoline shortages, and human ingenuity, the country’s rise to global energy powerhouse has been a roller coaster ride dating back to the administration of Jimmy Carter. Even in a seesawing international market and a toxic environment, the United States continues to make history – and it’s just getting started.
…the shale-oil revolution has been the driver of this ascent to Saudi America.
70 Years in the Making
According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA)’s Annual Energy Outlook 2019, the United States will begin to export more energy products than it imports in 2020. Since 1953, the nation has been a net energy importer, relying on foreign markets for crude oil consumption. But this isn’t a one-time event; the EIA forecasts that U.S. energy output will continue to post new highs for the next decade.
Thanks to hydraulic fracturing (fracking), the shale-oil revolution has been the driver of this ascent to Saudi America. In 2018, production averaged 10.9 million barrels per day (bpd), and this is projected to top 14 million bpd over the next few years. And the United States will continue to produce that amount for the next two decades.
While the country’s shale revolution has dominated headlines, the United States has quietly become a global leader in a wide range of other energy products. Natural gas and petroleum byproducts, such as butane, ethane, and propane, have contributed to this trend.
The United States remains a net coal exporter, and it will own this distinction for another 30 years. However, because of foreign competition and dissipating demand, the EIA does not anticipate growing shipments in the coming years.
So, when will the boom begin to taper off? The EIA thinks 2027.
While the business media do pay attention to this historic achievement, two fascinating aspects of the Energy Department’s outlooks go overlooked.
First, the EIA keeps revising its numbers. For instance, in 2017, it prognosticated that the United States would become a net energy exporter in 2026. Then, a year later, the EIA updated it to 2022. Today, it’s 2020. This suggests that perhaps America’s energy industry is a lot bigger than the experts realize, especially considering how new oil and gas reserves keep being discovered.
In December 2018, Liberty Nation reported that the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) found two underground layers containing 46.3 billion barrels of unrecovered oil, as well as 281 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Who knows what will be uncovered in 2019 – and beyond?
Second, it cannot be overstated how big a part Texas is playing. The Lone Star State produces approximately five million bpd, topped only by Saudi Arabia and Russia. That’s it. This means Texas outproduces members of the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). What’s even more remarkable is, as the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) notes, national output was just five million bpd in 2008.
Forget Saudi America for a moment. Let’s give a round of applause to Saudi Texas.
The American people are witnessing two developments unfold: a crude renaissance and an energy revolution. No longer is the United States beholden to Middle Eastern powers. The country needs only to rely on the free-enterprise system that made it an energy powerhouse a century ago and an economic superpower today. For years, oil firms – David and Goliath alike – have withstood the barrage of attacks from environmentalists, leftists, and bureaucrats. Yet, despite the constant flak, the domestic energy industry in volatile times not only survives but also thrives. Take that, Greenpeace, OPEC, and hippies!