U.S. Energy Independence Just Ahead

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U.S. Energy Independence Just Ahead

North America will soon become “energy independent.” This concept is derided in some circles because it could imply that we’ll somehow decouple from a huge component of the global economy. What we’re actually talking about is that North America and perhaps the United States will, in fact, become a net energy exporter to the rest of the world.

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Previous Trends issues have outlined many benefits of eliminating petroleum imports to the U.S. from countries other than Canada and Mexico. Consider some examples:

  1. There will be a relative reduction of global energy prices because of the additional global supply produced by North American suppliers.
  2. Whenever energy prices occasionally spike, the United States will be a beneficiary rather than a victim.
  3. We will gain geo-political flexibility because of a reduced dependence on energy supplies from a market dominated by Saudi Arabia and Russia.
  4. We will experience a rebirth of U.S. manufacturing driven by easy access to cheap energy and chemical feedstocks — particularly domestic natural gas.
  5. There will be a surge of high-wage blue collar jobs in the energy sector, plus up to 10 million additional jobs driven by low-cost energy, new capital investment, and the multiplier effect of consumption by those employed in the energy sector.
  6. We will benefit by virtually eliminating our balance of payments deficit, which is a huge prerequisite for getting our economic house in order.

The good news is that unlike the OPEC countries, the U.S. and Canada are characterized by persistent ingenuity and a system that rewards new and better ideas.

For the first time in nearly 50 years, energy industry leaders are publicly optimistic that we can achieve energy independence as the Trends editors define it.

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In a survey of industry insiders conducted by Forbes Insights in association with small business and middle market lender CIT,1 over two-thirds of respondents indicated they thought that within 15 years the U.S. could achieve some level of energy independence. If they are right, that would be the first time since 1952.

Already, many new technologies and policies are lining up to minimize U.S. oil imports. The results are moving the country in the right direction. Consider these numbers:

  • Since 2008, U.S. oil production has risen by 15 percent, from 4.95 million to 5.7 million barrels a day.2 This was the largest increase of any country, and new oil fields are still being developed...

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