These days we take our optimism wherever we can get it, and if a Leftist media outlet like Bloomberg is sounding a positive note about surging energy production in the U.S., the real news is likely even better than reported.
A few, choice excerpts:
The U.S. is the closest it has been in almost 20 years to achieving energy self-sufficiency, a goal the nation has been pursuing since the 1973 Arab oil embargo triggered a recession and led to lines at gasoline stations.
Domestic oil output is the highest in eight years. The U.S. is producing so much natural gas that, where the government warned four years ago of a critical need to boost imports, it now may approve an export terminal. Methanex Corp., the world’s biggest methanol maker, said it will dismantle a factory in Chile and reassemble it in Louisiana to take advantage of low natural gas prices. And higher mileage standards and federally mandated ethanol use, along with slow economic growth, have curbed demand.
The result: The U.S. has reversed a two-decade-long decline in energy independence, increasing the proportion of demand met from domestic sources over the last six years to an estimated 81 percent through the first 10 months of 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from the U.S. Department of Energy. That would be the highest level since 1992.
Of course, Bloomberg finds it necessary to throw in the canards about the dangers of “fracking” and the lamentation that greater hydrocarbon usage will further depress the interest in and practicability of solar and wind energy. Against this persistent Leftist meme, however, it should be noted that the article does not mention global warming, nor quote any “leading scientists” about the dangers of increased carbon production, nor feature a picture of polar bears precariously perched on a tiny bit of ice. That, my friends, is a sure sign of progress in the fight to restore American intellectual sense.
There is so much good news in this sector of the economy in fact that Bloomberg’s attempts to dampen enthusiasm seem to be more a product of the authors’ embarrassment than any, actual cloud on the horizon. Read the whole thing and do a little, guilt-free basking.
A few notes on this.
First, there is no doubt that the Obama Administration is going to try to take credit for this boom in energy production. The President, in fact, attempted to do just that in his State of the Union address to Congress. No one should be fooled, however. The Administration has dragged its feet and done all it can to suppress, depress, and discourage hydrocarbon production since it took office, including banning off-shore drilling in places like Virginia which has been ready to start since 2009 and nixing the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to Texas.
Second, as good as this news is for the U.S. economy and geopolitical position in the world, it could and should be much, much better. Gas and oil production would dwarf the current figures if the Federal government was not putting massive roadblocks in the way of energy production in this country. This surge in production is almost exclusively a function of private enterprise finding ways around government hostility and getting the job done. It is a classic example of the American spirit of independent action overcoming daunting opposition. Just consider the news from the article as it relates to the amazing work being done in North Dakota:
Crude production in the U.S. is already increasing. Within three years, domestic output could reach 7 million barrels a day, the highest in 20 years, said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston, a consulting firm. The U.S. produced 5.9 million barrels of crude oil a day in December, while consuming 18.5 million barrels of petroleum products, according to the Energy Department.
North Dakota — the center of the so-called tight-oil transformation — is now the fourth largest oil-producing state, behind Texas, Alaska and California.
The growth in oil and gas output means the U.S. will overtake Russia as the world’s largest energy producer in the next eight years, said Jamie Webster, senior manager for the markets and country strategy group at PFC Energy, a Washington- based consultant.
While U.S. consumers would still be susceptible to surges in global oil prices, “we’d end up sending some of that cash to North Dakota” rather than to Saudi Arabia, said Richard Schmalensee, a professor of economics and management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.
What the article does not tell you is that all of this production in North Dakota is occurring on private lands. The Federal government owns massive tracts of land throughout the Western U.S. and has put virtually all of it off-limits to energy production. The estimated hydrocarbon resources of Colorado alone rival those of Saudi Arabia. Imagine for one moment what kind of production the U.S. is capable of when even a part of those Federal lands are opened up for development. In this sense, the Bloomberg article is actually disguising the enormous potential of U.S. production. The U.S. has the potential to put OPEC out of business, single-handedly.
Finally, in another delicious moment of vindication that should be enjoyed thoroughly, the avalanche of optimism over U.S. energy production conclusively puts the lie to years of Leftist Democrat drivel that the U.S. cannot “drill its way out of our energy problems.” Here is El Presidente in May, 2011 in his energy policy speech in Indiana:
President Obama called for the elimination of billions of dollars in oil industry tax breaks Friday, while stressing that the United States can’t drill its way out of high gas prices.
“We can’t just drill our way out of the problem,” Obama said during an energy policy speech in Indiana Friday. “If we’re serious about addressing our energy problems, we’re going to have to do more than drill.”
Obama’s remarks come as Washington policymakers are feeling pressure to take action to address high gas prices, which are nearing a nationwide average of $4 a gallon.Republicans have ramped up calls for expanded domestic oil-and-gas production. House Republicans passed the first of three offshore drilling bills Thursday that have been fast-tracked by GOP leadership.
But Democrats, for their part, are pushing for the repeal of billion of dollars in oil industry tax breaks, citing record oil industry profits and soaring pump prices.
He noted that it’s important to “encourage safe and responsible oil production here at home,” but called for a wide-ranging energy policy strategy focused on reducing the country’s oil imports by one-third by 2025, ramping up vehicle fuel economy standards and relying on low-emission electricity sources.
Remember this when gas prices again head to $4 per gallon and more this Summer. We will again hear the Republicans in Congress pushing for greater drilling rights and we will hear this same response from El Presidente and his accomplices on Capitol Hill, “No, we can’t drill our way out of high gas prices.”
Pardon the thick irony here, but, as the Bloomberg article and many others like it demonstrate: YES, WE CAN.