US Petroleum Output Rocks Global Economic Calculus

Unleashing U.S. energy exports has the potential to upset longstanding geopolitical and economic arrangements across the world. __ US Poised to Shatter Production Records

This Wasn’t Supposed to Happen

According to the conventional wisdom of energy economists, US petroleum production was supposed to have peaked by the early 1970s, followed by subsequent irreversible decline. Thenceforth, the US was meant to enter the post-industrial era, relying mainly on “information technologies” to maintain its economic superpower status. Global energy, industrial, and manufacturing output was supposed to shift irrevocably to emerging nations in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Big US oil producers such as Exxon Mobil and Chevron had rejected shale in favour of overseas oil fields. “Decline” was the watchword of analysts who had become “legends in their own minds.”

But something happened on the way to the “engineered obsolescence” of American industry, energy production, and manufacturing. Small oil & gas drillers suddenly began to innovate, tapping into massive oil fields which were supposed to be untouchable — too expensive to develop.

The shale revolution initially upended the traditional industry hierarchy, making billionaires out of wildcatters such as Harold Hamm, who founded Continental Resources, and the late Aubrey McClendon of Chesapeake Energy.

Top U.S. oil firms such as Exxon Mobil and Chevron a decade ago turned much of their focus to foreign fields, leaving smaller firms to develop U.S. shale. Now they’re back, buying shale companies, land and shifting more investments back home from overseas. __ Reuters

US petroleum production is predicted to break all old records, with the US becoming a natural gas net exporter. Because of abundant cheap natural gas reserves, the US is becoming the location of choice for a wide range of energy-intense industries that are relocating from Europe and Asia to take advantage.

The United States now exports up to 1.7 million barrels per day of crude, and this year will have the capacity to export 3.8 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas. Terminals conceived for importing liquefied natural gas have now been overhauled to allow exports.

That export demand, along with surging production in remote locations such as West Texas and North Dakota, has led to a boom in U.S. pipeline construction. Firms including Kinder Morgan and Enterprise Products Partners added 26,000 miles of liquids pipelines in the five years between 2012 and 2016, according to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Several more multi-billion-dollar pipeline projects are on the drawing board. __ Reuters

All of this represents a cascading increase in economic activity across the US — from oil & gas fields to new manufacturing plants and industrial centres, to port facilities on all coasts (Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico). The economic multiplier effect of a booming oil & gas sector is significant.

Trump’s Administration Deserves Much Credit

US President Trump has approved new pipelines, new guidelines for use of federal lands, new guidelines for offshore oil & gas drilling, and many other basic changes in rules and regulations which make it easier and more profitable for US companies to produce energy. Bringing the US EPA back into its valid role has been one of the foremost missions of the Trump administration:

Pruitt is … trying to get [the EPA] to do its job, to stay within its legal authority, and to abide by the rule of law. Contrary to the cartoon version of him generally offered up in the press, Pruitt in many ways desires to lead the EPA to take stronger positions on some environmental problems, especially air quality. “We still have a lot of work to do on clean air,” he says. “The problem is that for the past decade we’ve been so focused on CO2 that we’ve let a lot of other things slide.” Regulating the greenhouse gas as “air pollution” was a cherished and ultimately failed priority for the Obama administration, and, in Pruitt’s view, this took attention away from more ordinary concerns, such as industrial emissions and smog. “People come to me and say, ‘Why don’t you do this?’ or ‘Why don’t you do that?’ And some of those I would. But Congress hasn’t given us statutory authority. If you want to change the policy, you have to change the law.”

Read more at:

This is just the beginning, of course. Doomers and political foes of abundant energy have been predicting the collapse of US oil production — including shale oil production — for many years, and continue to do so. With their track record of failed predictions, one should wonder why they bother to continue droning on — and who might possibly take them seriously at this stage?

The video below includes much interesting detail on the shale revolution and some of its economic and geopolitical ramifications:

Most analysts neglect to examine all of the additive economic effects of the US petroleum revolution — and the geopolitical consequences. That is a huge mistake, which makes them unwittingly irrelevant to real world discussions. Try not to make that mistake.

More: US industrial output up in 2017

Trump’s policies working?

Some positive trends can be traced to the Obama years, but there’s clearly been a shift in trajectory and direction of the economy. As President Obama once noted, “elections have consequences.” Under Obama, federal policies—the “stimulus,” non-regulation of tech giants, ultra-low interest rates— benefited urban core, blue-state bastions that now constitute the unshakeable base of the Democratic Party. Under Trump, most working- and middle-class workers benefit from higher standard tax deductions and energy deregulation, while the affluent in high-tax states like California, New York, and Illinois are likely not to do as well.

Today, the often-disdained red states have the wind at their back, while in blue America, the economy seems to be slowing, as industries and people move to lower-cost, lower-regulation states. Seven of the top 10 states in terms of population growth last year were deep red; overall, the South has become home to the better part of economic dynamism in the country, with Texas and Florida alone accounting for one-third of all U.S. growth since 2010. Some analysts suggest that the new tax law, which works against high-income earners in high-tax states, will accelerate these trends further.

It is almost as if a magic switch had been thrown in January 2017 to distinguish the Obama economy from what came after. Amazing what happens when you stop sabotaging your own economy.

Elitist attempts to undercut Trump presidency not preventing effective administrative action from White House

FDI Rank 2015, 2016

FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) expected to grow in US after recent tax reform legislation passed. China is worried about growing cash outflows as a result of that and possible increased interest rates in US.

Meanwhile in China:

China’s dependency on imported oil & gas growing.

China is growing more insecure about Taiwan

Useful background for understanding China’s “GDP” Numbers

China’s GDP numbers have been “fudged” for quite some time

Meanwhile in Russia

Meanwhile in Iran

Meanwhile in Turkey critical foreign investment is under threat.

Meanwhile in Bernie Sanders’ beloved Venezuela

Meanwhile in Mexico

This entry was posted in Donald Trump, Energy, Oil Prices, Shale Oil & Gas Revolution and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to US Petroleum Output Rocks Global Economic Calculus

  1. Matthew Musson says:

    So much for Peak Fucking Oil!

  2. Pingback: This Week In Reaction (2018/01/21) - Social Matter

  3. Hell_Is_Like_Newark says:

    We have so much gas for export that is currently being wasted (flared off). Why? We don’t have the infrastructure to get it from the oil fields (where the gas is a byproduct of drilling) to where it can be used, refined, or exported.

    About 40% of the domestic production of gas is lost via flaring.

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