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September 30, 2011

America's Dependency on Foreign Oil... Dropped Significantly?

At Instapundit. I didn't know about this until Monty tipped it.

At NPR, a story about the Bakken oil fields.

Now, I did read this was a big field, but I didn't know it was already producing so much, or that it was expected to produce even more.

Two years ago, America was importing about two thirds of its oil. Today, according to the Energy Information Administration, it imports less than half. And by 2017, investment bank Goldman Sachs predicts the US could be poised to pass Saudi Arabia and overtake Russia as the world's largest oil producer.

Places like Williston are the reason why.

"For many years, they knew that there was oil in that area, but the technology wasn't available to get it out," the town's mayor, Ward Koeser, tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz.

But in the last few years, advances in such technologies as "fracking" and horizontal drilling have made, by some estimates, as much as 11 billion barrels of oil available in the Bakken formation under North Dakota and Montana.

"There's oil companies coming from all over the country now." Koeser says.

Williston has skipped the recession entirely. Unemployment there is less than 2 percent. The population, the mayor estimates, has grown from 12,000 to 20,000 in the last four years.

"We actually have probably between 2,000 and 3,000 job openings in Williston right now," Koeser says.

Now, add ANWR and the California coast into the mix. Things start to look a little more hopeful.

But Note: Warren points out:

I suspect that a good part of this is related to lower demand due to a weakened economy. And you thought that Obama's economic policies weren't accomplishing anything.

Yes, that's true, energy demand falls in recessions and depressions, so we'd have less need of foreign crude. But still, 66% to 50% is a big drop-off that can't (I don't think) be explained away by idled resources.


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posted by Ace at 12:43 PM

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