The Great North American Energy Export Boom

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The Great North American Energy Export Boom

Energy is the life’s blood of economic activity.

Each successive techno-economic revolution has enabled mankind to harness greater quantities of energy, while creating more economic value from each unit of energy harnessed.

Since the late 18th century, access to cheap, abundant energy has been a crucial source of wealth and power. The British Empire depended on an abundance of coal. The power of the United States grew dramatically because it had easy access to coal and petroleum. Beginning in the 1950s, Saudi Arabia, and other OPEC countries with hardly any other economic resources, rode a tidal wave of cheap petroleum to enormous wealth.

Any nation that does not have its own energy has to import it, and that creates big opportunities for those who can produce more energy than they need to consume.

As we’ve discussed in previous issues, fracking, directional drilling, and other game-changing technologies have given North America a unique multi-faceted competitive advantage. The United States is already the world’s largest producer of total energy. And by 2019, it will be #1 producer of petroleum, as well as natural gas and coal.   

Some of the world’s most important economies, including Germany, Japan, China, Korea, and India, lack the domestic energy resources needed to economically thrive in the first-half of the 21st century. As a result, the global trade in energy is expected to grow rapidly as human affluence rises.

Consistent with the so-called “High Oil and Gas Resource and Technology case” developed by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the Trends editors forecast that by 2030 the United States will produce 15 million barrels of oil per day, as well as 45 trillion cubic feet of natural gas annually. That’s an increase of more than 50% over 2017 levels of oil production and an increase of over 80% from 2017 natural gas production levels.

According to the American Petroleum Institute (or API), U.S. production of crude oil hit 10.7 million barrels per day (mb/d), in June 2018, and production of natural gas liquids hit 4.2 million barrels per day. In fact, rising U...

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