Guest Column: U.S. remains global energy super power
BY REGIS KLINE
President Obama and the Democrats constantly tell us that America cannot drill our way to lower energy prices. The private drilling industry without government interference has achieved much lower natural gas prices by drilling new wells. The price of natural gas has gone down 80 percent over the last five years due to a greater supply of natural gas. The United States is now the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. The Marcellus shale natural gas field in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio area will soon be the most productive natural gas field in the U.S. This was accomplished with new drilling in the last five years on private land.
Currently, the No. 1 export of the United States is coal and refined oil products like jet fuel. For 2012, it is estimated that energy exports will total $88 billion. You might wonder what the Obama administration is doing to help increase energy exports which will create many high-paying jobs. They are holding up export permits for coal and natural gas. This continues to be part of the Obama war on fossil fuels. Team Obama’s policy is to impede, restrict, harass and attack producers of fossil fuels while heavily subsidizing uneconomical renewable energies.
The United States currently has the highest rate of growth in crude oil production capacity in the world. The major reason for this was that on July 14, 2008, President George W Bush lifted the moratorium on offshore drilling. The goal was to reduce oil imports from OPEC and it has worked. It normally takes four-five years to see new crude oil coming to market from drilling rule changes. This means that Obama had little to do with the current increased oil production. He has done all he could to deny leases or pull permits for drilling on federal lands.
It is being reported the Unites States will pass Saudi Arabia in oil production during 2013. The U.S. oil and natural gas rush will add 1.7 million jobs this year at wages on the average of $35 an hour which are much higher than other job being created. The jobs created are just not jobs working on oil rigs. Jobs are being created for U.S. workers manufacturing drilling equipment, steel pipe, construction, as well as computer-technology for things like seismic assays, legal and consulting jobs.
The U.S. currently is the world leader in developing new techniques to produce unconventional oil and natural gas. Unconventional oil is produced by hydraulic fracturing. Unconventional oil will account for about two million barrels per day of the U.S. production in 2012. With these new methods, the U.S. now has a 200-year supply of oil and 120-year supply of natural gas. During most years, crude oil imports account for 50 percent of the trade deficit. The Wall Street Journal reported that government data shows that the U.S. is on the fast-track to becoming energy independent and energy –producing superpower as long as the government doesn’t get in the way. The North Dakota Bakken oil field is estimated at 500 billion barrels worth $5 trillion.
The growing lower cost natural gas supply will bring many manufactures back to the United States. During the high natural gas prices during the 1990s, chemical makers moved overseas, laying off 140,000 employees. As many as 30 chemical plants are being proposed to be built in the U.S. in the next five years, which could mean a total of 200,000 workers at the plants and related suppliers. The use of natural gas to produce electricity is also seeing a big increase due to the lower cost versus coal and 50 percent less emissions.
OPEC and Russia are taking notice and are very concerned about the increased oil and natural gas production in the U.S. Increasing domestic oil and natural gas production will enhance our national security and make the U.S. less vulnerable to disruptions from politically unstable exporting countries. I could never understand why we continue to import crude oil from countries that hate and want to kill Americans.
The United States has been blessed by God with the most abundant natural resources of any country in the world. There is no reason why these resources cannot be used to the benefit of all Americans and still protect our environment. It makes no sense to just lock them up and do harm to our economy and standard of living.
Regis Kline of Trinity works as a consultant and an ASQ certified quality control auditor.