NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

America's Shale Fields Could Improve International Interests

April 6, 2015

The U.S. now has the ability to position itself not only to influence but, in due course, to even dominate oil markets. America is already the world's fastest growing source of oil (and natural gas) and the world's largest producer of liquid hydrocarbons.

To have impact, the U.S. does not need to become a net exporter. That America has the kind of operational surpluses that make overseas sales not just feasible but logical is now obvious. The current flap over the record levels of oil piling up in domestic storage tanks is a direct consequence of American companies producing so much petroleum—oil they are banned from selling offshore.

But there is substantial political resistance for a new export-oriented oil doctrine. The objections fall mainly into three buckets.

  • First there is gasoline price-o-phobia. Politicians do not get credit when prices at the pump drop but they sure fear the backlash of the inverse, especially if it were to happen in the wake of a vote to rescind the crude export ban.
  • Second, heel-dragging comes from a persistent notion that America's hydrocarbons are somehow uniquely precious, so rare in fact that, unlike any other commodity, the U.S. government should not allow American crude oil to be sold to other nations.
  • The third trope is entangled with the notion that the expanding digital economy somehow portends a post-oil world. The irony is that these new technologies will boost global wealth leading to greater use of everything, especially airplanes and automobiles.

It would be to America's strategic, as well as economic advantage, to be amongst the few preferred suppliers of all those vital hydrocarbons.

Source: Mark P. Mills, "America's Shale Fields Offer A Chance For A New Oil Doctrine To "Reset" Geopolitics," Forbes, March 30, 2015. 


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