Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Oil's Well

Right-wing screamers and those that love them like to yell that President Obama's energy policies either don't exist or have failed. (A nice former commenter said she doesn't like his energy policies, but failed to respond when asked why. And now it's too late, right when I bet she was getting ready.) That this is unmitigated crap, repeated by a certain presidential contender, is unsurprising; it's hard to think of anything they say that isn't. But here's something quite surprising: an oil company is seeking permission to export American oil. To Canada. (Take that, pipeline screamers!)

Royal Dutch Shell’s application for permission to export oil from the United States is the latest sign that old dogmas of the energy debate are under threat from reality. 
The idea that the U.S. is the Gulliver of the world energy market – a giant rendered impotent by its dependence on petroleum doled out by quasi-hostile Middle Eastern states – has been ingrained in the American psyche since the oil embargoes of the 1970s. Energy insecurity is embodied in U.S. laws that bar export of  U.S.-produced oil unless the government grants permission, which so far it has done rarely. 
But as the WSJ’s Ben Lefebvre points out today the foundational truth of four decades of U.S. energy policy — that America can’t supply itself with oil and natural gas — is suddenly looking to be not so true. 
“The revolution in hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” technology that has coaxed large volumes of oil from shale rock has generated an unprecedented boom that the EIA says will bring U.S. production to its highest level in nearly two decades next year.
Oil production in the U.S. totaled 194 million barrels of crude oil in July, the most in 14 years, according to the latest data from the EIA. Oil production in the Eagle Ford shale area of south Texas—where Shell has significant operations—and the Bakken shale region in North Dakota are producing more oil than pipelines are currently able to carry to market. 
This week, the glut of oil production in the center of the country pushed the U.S. benchmark oil price, West Texas Intermediate, to its lowest level in a year relative to the international benchmark, Brent crude.” 
Separately, the International Energy Agency issued a report that predicted consumers worldwide would benefit in the medium and long term from lower fuel prices, thanks to increased production, including from the U.S., and slowing demand.
Interesting severally: for one, it's another way President Obama has been willing to piss off liberals, in supporting fracking in particular and drilling in general. Not to mention mostly ignoring global warming and the effect all these fossil fuels have on it. For another, it emphasizes what all those screamers would have voters ignore: under President Obama, both oil drilling and production have gone up. As I wrote a while back, we're closer to energy independence than we've ever been; now, it looks like we might already be there. I'm sure teabaggRs would claim Obama deserves no credit. Whatever he's done, he hasn't done it. Or it's unAmerican. But looking at the above graphic it's hard not to notice when things changed.

The downside, of course, is that it'll delay even further the search for sustainable and economically feasible non-carbon fuels. Just another way in which the version of Barack Obama that the RWS™ would have you believe, and which teabaggers have swallowed like orange pekoe, is as far from reality as Mitt Romney's budget-balancing claims.

[Image from linked article]

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