--> A new report by the International Energy Association says the U.S. will become the world's largest oil producer by 2017, overtaking current leaders Saudi Arabia and Russia. U.S. energy policies initiated by the George W. Bush administration and implemented by President Barack Obama have moved the U.S. toward energy independence and away from Middle East energy sources. U.S. oil production has risen rapidly since 2008 and oil imports are at their lowest level in two decades.
is at the forefront of a sweeping transformation in oil and gas
production that will affect all regions of the world, yet the potential
also exists for a similarly transformative shift in global energy
efficiency," says IEA Executive Director Marian von der Hoeven in a
The IEA also says the U.S. could become
self-sufficient in energy by 2035 and a net exporter of natural gas by
2020. The Obama administration's push to develop and grow domestic
natural gas capabilities has led to a natural gas drilling boom.
Production has jumped 15% in four years but the glut in natural gas
supplies have also caused the price of natural gas to plummet. According
to the White House, the U.S. holds a 100-year supply of natural gas and
domestic production is at an all-time high. The Daily Ticker's Aaron
Task and Henry Blodget both agree that the explosion in domestic energy
production could alter the geopolitical landscape and U.S. labor market.
"The foreign policy implications are maybe even bigger than the economic ones," says Task.
50 years or more we have been just addicted and coupled to a region of
the world where so many people hate us," Blodget adds.
petroleum imports have fallen an average of more than 1.5 million
barrels per day and domestic crude oil production has increased by an
average of more than 720,000 barrels per day since 2008. As domestic
drilling has expanded so has the number of oil and gas production jobs.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, job growth in these
industries has risen 25% since January 2010.
Related: The Fracking Revolution: More Jobs and Cheaper Energy Are Worth the "Manageable" Risks, Yergin Says
Obama says natural gas production could support 600,000 jobs by the end
of the decade. Most of these positions are highly desirable from a
financial standpoint. Drilling and support jobs pay about $34.50 an
hour, 50% more than the national average according to The New York
Cheap natural gas and the administration's eagerness to expand
U.S. energy production has shifted resources away from green energy
technologies like solar and wind.
Related: Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: Renewable Energy Is Key to U.S. Growth
method of extracting natural gas from shale rock formations has come
under intense scrutiny. Many local cities and communities have already
banned the practice. Hydraulic fracturing, more commonly referred to as
hydrofracking or fracking, involves injecting large amounts of sand,
water and chemicals into the ground at high pressures. Critics of
fracking say this process produces millions of gallons of wastewater
that contain highly corrosive salts and carcinogens. These radioactive
elements could pollute water sources such as rivers and underground
aquifers and pose serious dangers to the environment and individuals.