If this is for real, it’s the biggest news I’ve heard for a long time:
Two years ago, America was importing about two thirds of its oil. Today, according to the Energy Information Administration, it imports less than half. And by 2017, investment bank Goldman Sachs predicts the US could be poised to pass Saudi Arabia and overtake Russia as the world’s largest oil producer.
This is from:
• New boom reshapes oil world, rocks North Dakota, All Things Considered, National Public Radio, 25 September, 2011.
The new boom is due to technologies like fracking (short for hydraulic fracturing) and directional drilling. According to an estimate in this article, in the last few years advances in these technologies have made available up to 11 billion barrels of oil in the Bakken formation under North Dakota and Montana. There’s also a lot under the Canadian side of the border:
This map is from:
• Jerry Langton, Bakken Formation: Will it fuel Canada’s oil industry?, CBC News, 27 June 2008.
How big is this boom going to be? What will it mean? The National Public Radio story says this:
Amy Myers Jaffe of Rice University says in the next decade, new oil in the US, Canada and South America could change the center of gravity of the entire global energy supply.
“Some are now saying, in five or 10 years’ time, we’re a major oil-producing region, where our production is going up,” she says.
The US, Jaffe says, could have 2 trillion barrels of oil waiting to be drilled. South America could hold another 2 trillion. And Canada? 2.4 trillion. That’s compared to just 1.2 trillion in the Middle East and north Africa.
Jaffe says those new oil reserves, combined with growing turmoil in the Middle East, will “absolutely propel more and more investment into the energy resources in the Americas.”
Russia is already feeling the growth of American energy, Jaffe says. As the U.S. produces more of its own natural gas, Europe is free to purchase liquefied natural gas the US is no longer buying.
“They’re buying less natural gas from Russia,” Jaffe says. “So Russia would only supply 10 percent of European natural gas demand by 2030. That means the Russians are no longer powerful.”
The American energy boom, Jaffe says, could endanger many green-energy initiatives that have gained popularity in recent years. But royalties and revenue from U.S. production of oil and natural gas, she adds, could be used to invest in improving green technology.
What do you know about this news? Is it for real, is it being hyped? What do the smartest of the ‘peak oil’ crowd say?
I’ve read about the environmental impacts of fracking, and the consequences for global warming are evident. Since ‘carbon is forever’, to reduce carbon dioxide levels we need to either stop burning carbon or figure out a way to sequester CO2. A new oil boom won’t help us with that. And in the long run, we’ll still run out.
But the short run could last decades. Suppose people go ahead, ignore the dangers, and ‘drill, baby, drill’. How will geopolitics, the world economy, and the environment be affected?
Opinions are fine—everyone’s got one—but facts are better… and facts with references are the best.