Planet Gore

‘Why and How We Should Break OPEC Now’

A good piece by Robert Zubrin in The New Atlantis:

Usually when a country is likened to Saudi Arabia, it is not a compliment — unless of course it concerns vast energy resources. Since the 1970s, American politicians and energy analysts have described the United States as “the Saudi Arabia of coal” — a phrase meant to suggest that, while America’s oil reserves were inferior to those of the desert kingdom, we could take consolation in having the world’s largest coal reserves.

Today, however, America is in the midst of an energy boom that seems to be changing the nation’s energy outlook. Thanks in part to advances in hydraulic fracturing (commonly known as “fracking”), horizontal drilling, and other techniques, the U.S. energy industry is bringing to market vast supplies of oil and natural gas that were previously inaccessible. Consider the statistics for oil: In 2008, U.S. production slumped below 5 million barrels per day, the lowest it had been since the 1940s; by the end of 2013, it exceeded 8 million barrels per day, the highest in more than two decades. By 2016, production is projected to reach or exceed the historic high of 9.6 million barrels per day set in 1970. The rise in natural gas production has been even steeper. In 2007, the United States produced 1.3 trillion cubic feet of shale natural gas; in 2011, it produced 8 trillion cubic feet. That figure is projected to reach 31.9 trillion cubic feet by 2025 and to keep climbing in subsequent decades.

As President Obama put it in 2012, the United States is now “the Saudi Arabia of natural gas.” Indeed, with the United States even projected to become the world’s top oil producer by 2016 or earlier, perhaps such comparisons to Saudi Arabia are becoming outdated.

The rest here.