- Approximately 98.5% of natural gas consumed in the United States is produced in North America, 23% from western states. Approximately 73% of the oil consumed in the United States is produced domestically, 22.1% from the West.
- The United States produced enough energy to satisfy 84% of its needs in 2013.
- Increased American oil production has reduced imports to just 27% and shrunk the U.S. trade deficit by $63 billion.
Making America More Secure with Abundant, Affordable and Clean Energy
The oil and natural gas boom of the last several years has dramatically increased America’s energy security. The United States became the world’s largest natural gas producer in 2013, and in 2014 overtook Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s largest oil producer, cementing our position as an energy superpower. We could be even more energy secure if the government would pursue policies that encourage instead of hinder development of America’s rich abundance of oil and natural gas. Policies such as allowing reasonable access to federal lands and waters, modernizing federal bureaucratic processes, approving the Keystone XL pipeline, and encouraging Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) exports would solidify America’s position as an energy superpower. Congress’ action to lift the ban on oil exports was pivotal.
Western production has been a cornerstone of America’s transformation into an energy superpower, with proven reserves of over 10.6 billion barrels of oil and 81.6 Tcf of natural gas. The Bakken in North Dakota and Montana, the Niobrara in Colorado and Wyoming, and the Permian in New Mexico are significant contributors to the revitalization of American oil production. However, with vast amounts of federal lands, many areas of the West are at a disadvantage compared to other production areas like the Marcellus in Pennsylvania and Eagle Ford in Texas, which are predominated by private lands.
Removing barriers to development on federal land could further strengthen American energy security. Recent growth in oil and natural gas production has come in spite of federal policies, not because of them. Industry consultant Wood Mackenzie finds that government policies to improve access to domestic energy could further increase production by 8 million barrels of oil equivalent per day by 2030 and support 2.3 million jobs.
Energy as a Strategic Instrument
Naked aggression in Ukraine and intervention in Syria have called the world’s attention to how Russia uses its own vast oil and natural gas resources to dominate its neighbors and European energy markets. Luckily, the United States has the energy might to counter Russian dominance over Europe. Exports of crude oil and LNG could help our allies in Europe overcome Russian energy hegemony.
Iran will soon rejoin the world economy free of sanctions because of the deal reached by President Obama with China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia and Iran. Iran oil exports could reach 500,000 barrels per day after international sanctions are fully lifted. According to Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy and others, increased U.S. crude production can weaken the economic power and geopolitical influence of other large oil producing countries and allow greater U.S. diplomatic leverage.