John “JD” Krohn
Energy Communications Consultant
The fracking debate often obscures the good news from a broader energy revolution of which the process is a big part. Our national security and our economy are both being enhanced in major ways by this revolution.
As our nation debates military strikes in Syria, officials there have predicted that, “any attack against Syria will definitely result in chaos in the entire region if not beyond.” If that comes to pass, critical oil transportation choke points – responsible for moving a quarter of the worlds daily flow of the commodity – could be at risk.
Luckily, the nation’s dramatic resurgence in oil and natural gas production has reduced our dependence on foreign sources for these commodities; thus limiting the potential economic fallout such an event could bring.
Thanks to fracking, U.S. oil production has increased by 1.4 million barrels per day since 2008. This has helped reduce imports by 1.2 billion barrels per day; bringing them to their lowest level in twenty years. As a result of this shift, our nation currently has enough oil stored to cover 269 days of net oil imports.
This is of critical importance as events in the Middle East continue to unfold. Especially when you consider that ongoing uncertainty in the region threatens major oil transportation channels like the Straight of Hormuz, Suez Canal and the SUMED Pipeline which, when combined, transport approximately 21 million barrels of oil each day.
If not for our nation’s current energy revolution, the economic consequences of this uncertainty would be far more ominous to our national economy.
None of this is to say that these events won’t cause the price of oil to rise, indeed they already have. But, if the worst does come to pass, we now have a larger domestic supply that will enable us to weather this storm with more confidence and certainty than in the past.
As comforting as this fact is, the long-term benefits of our energy abundance are even more noteworthy. A report published by Citigroup earlier this year found that in just five years the United States may only need to import oil from Canada to meet its daily needs. That is certainly a comforting thought considering the seemingly chronic unrest plaguing the Middle East.
Looking forward, the United States is poised to become a global leader in renewable energy as well. This will help reduce our reliance on foreign sources of energy even further. Just last year, the amount of energy we harnessed from the wind and sun skyrocketed as solar energy increased by 49 percent and wind energy increased by 16 percent, according to a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory analysis.
Taken together, it’s clear the benefits of our nation’s energy revolution far exceed the millions of jobs and billions in economic activity it has created. In fact, it’s making us safer in a very uncertain world while cleaning our environment and lifting our economy. These two benefits – a more robust economy and a safer nation – are invaluable during this moment in our nation’s history.