The chart above displays another new energy milestone for the Great American Energy Boom: Net petroleum imports have been below 30% for the most recent five months (October 2013 to February 2014, EIA data here) – the last time that happened was in the spring of 1986, almost 28 years ago. Before a dedicated group of America’s petropreneurs finally “unlocked the shale code” with revolutionary technologies that were finally able to extract oil trapped in tight shale rock formations miles below the ground, America’s dependence on foreign sources of petroleum had been rising for 20 years and imports were providing more than 65% of US demand in the fall of 2005 (see chart). In the last seven years, thanks to the shale oil bonanza in states like North Dakota and Texas, the share of America’s petroleum supplied by foreign sources has fallen from 62% in early 2007 to below 30% this year. With the increases in domestic oil production forecast by the EIA (annual growth averaging 800,000 barrels per day through 2016), we can expect net petroleum imports to continue to fall over the next few years to new record low levels.
America’s oil and gas industry continues to be the strongest sector of the US economy and is helping to provide much-needed support to an otherwise sub-par economic recovery. The Great American Energy Boom is providing thousands of shovel-ready jobs both directly in oil and gas extraction and indirectly in all of the many sectors that support the energy sector, it’s creating thousands of new millionaires who are being paid oil and gas royalties, and it’s achieving the long sought-after goal of increasing America’s energy security by reducing dependence on foreign sources of petroleum, as the chart above helps to illustrate.
Ironically, there’s probably never been a US president more hostile to the oil and gas industry than Obama; and yet there probably has also never been a US president who has benefited more from the economic stimulus and shovel-ready job-creation that the oil and gas industry has delivered during Obama’s tenure.