When the United States became a net oil exporter in November 2019, nearly 75 years of energy dependence on dubious regimes came to an end. It happened without buzz or fanfare, but the geopolitical consequences are earthshaking.
The impetus has been the shale-oil revolution, which has given Texas a second oil bonanza. Massive oil reserves have recently been discovered, and the Lone Star State produces a whopping five million barrels per day, topped only by Russia and Saudi Arabia.
In addition, a boom in natural gas production has allowed America to steadily reduce its carbon emissions, unlike its global competitors, China and India.
Furthermore, the Trump Administration is favorable to nuclear power, and America has the 14th largest uranium reserves in the world. Not only is the U.S. energy-independent but it has enough resources to increase its total production significantly. America is ready to handle growth.
America’s newfound status as energy independent is a double whammy. First, it gives greater freedom and security to the American people. It is fueling an economic boom at home and reducing the need for protecting oil trade routes in the Middle East. Second, the same powers that before had a grip on America now find themselves in the opposite position: They must pander to the U.S.
Consider the contrast: In 1973, the Arab OPEC countries commanded enough export power to start an oil embargo against nations that supported Israel in the Yom Kippur War, including the United States.
Today, America can – if it so desires – return the favor and block the Strait of Hormuz, preventing the Persian Gulf nations from shipping their oil to the global market, thereby creating a massive worldwide oil shortage and price shock, with few if any detrimental domestic consequences.
Considering that China is Iran’s largest customer and that both these nations happen to be critical American adversaries, this embargo power is highly convenient. It may come in handy in trade deal negotiations.
However, there is always a hair in the soup. In recent years, the Democratic Party has become predictable: Anything that strengthens America, they oppose. Anything that weakens it, they cheer. Naturally, then, many of the top tier Democratic presidential candidates want to ban “fracking”.
They have cheered the Green New Deal, which would reverse all the gains made in the last decade and would make America weak again, and once more put it in the claws of other countries.
As of today, it seems highly unlikely that Democrats would succeed in putting a brake on America’s energy independence. President Donald Trump is well on his way to re-election in 2020, and by the end of his second term in 2024, the climate models have had an extra four years to continue to diverge from reality. By that time, it will probably be both politically and scientifically impossible to make a U-turn in America’s energy revolution.