To say that the U.S. is taking definitive steps toward energy autonomy is not hyperbole any more.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration projected earlier this year that the “U.S. dependence on imported petroleum liquids declines primarily as a result of growth in domestic oil production by more than 1 million barrels per day by 2020; an increase in biofuels use to more than 1 million barrels per day crude oil equivalent by 2024; and modest growth in transportation sector demand through 2035. Net petroleum imports as a share of total U.S. liquid fuels consumed drop from 49 percent in 2010 to 36 percent in 2035.” EIA goes on to say that proposed fuel economy standards covering vehicle model years 2017 through 2025 would further reduce the need for petroleum imports.
What will this mean for consumers?
Energy independence will come from rich resources such as the Marcellus shale formation in the east, new discoveries in West Texas and the Bakken oil fields in the Dakotas. Houston-based Enbridge Energy Partners says the Bakken crude oil formation in North Dakota will produce as much as 1.2 million barrels of oil per day within the next five years.
Moreover, with the economic viability of Canada’s oil sands supported by rising world oil prices and advances in production technology, EIA projects that Canada’s production reaches 5 million barrels per day in 2035. And despite recent obstacles, many industry observers consider the Keystone Pipeline’s access to the U.S. as just a matter of time.
Mexico, too, has a bullish outlook and for good reason. Bloomberg reports that Pemex, the state-run oil company and world’s fourth largest oil producer, has discovered three deep-water deposits in recent months in the Gulf of Mexico with an estimated 26.5 billion barrels of untapped crude.
The potential now and in coming years for the U.S. and Canada, its primary fuel supplier, and Mexico, its second largest provider of imported oil, to unilaterally reduce OPEC influence on global crude oil prices is within reach. That's why the U.S., Canada and Mexico should form an 'axis of influence.' A cooperative effort could nullify the disruptive effects of Middle East volatility, crude oil price hikes and concurrent retail gasoline price increases. Such an effort would advance the economic growth and national security of each country.
Does it make sense in a democratic, ‘free market’ system for government to support affordable energy? Would it be prudent for the U.S. to pursue initiatives that might keep gas prices stable?
According to the Christian Science Monitor, every 10-cent rise per gallon in gas prices costs the U.S. economy $11 billion. That’s real money. Can we afford to watch it slip away?