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Yergin Cites Huge US Oil Potential

The good news about future US energy supplies just keeps coming.  In today’s Wall Street Journal Daniel Yergin, easily the country’s most thoughtful energy student, projects that US oil production is headed to grow by another 2 million barrels a day by 2020 — an increase of more than 50 percent in our current oil production.  At that level, the US would be producing almost as much oil as Saudi Arabia.

That estimate, rosy as it is, assumes slower growth in offshore production due to the consequences of the Gulf blowout and is based entirely on onshore production.  If offshore growth resumes, we could do even better.

Throw that together with the new Canadian oil production coming on line and the natural gas boom and it seems clear that instead of being a drag on the US economy, energy is going to be one of the forces propelling us into a new and more prosperous era.

Yergin’s predictions underscore the importance of making sure we move intelligently and quickly to develop appropriate regulations for the new forms of energy extraction so that we can ramp up production while taking reasonable precautions to protect the environment.  Gas and oil production produce high wage blue collar jobs — exactly the kind the country needs to raise middle class living standards and address problems like inequality.  The environmental issues surrounding shale gas and oil and the exploitation of the oil sands are real, but we have to think of these as problems that must be solved, not as barriers to action.

A secure and reasonably priced energy supply won’t just create jobs in extraction; it gives investors and manufacturers more reason to locate their facilities in the United States.  The President and Congress need to get energy policy right; if the millennial generation is going to have the kind of opportunity past American generations have known, the oil and the gas need to flow.

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  • Kevin Adams

    Let me preface this by saying I am not a geologist. Still……
    First, I have read that “fracking” for natural gas has caused some very minor earthquakes. Next, from the History Channel, I have learned that Yellowstone is the site of one of the world’s few Super Volcanos, one that every 300,000 years or so erupts so tremendously that it would have killed most of the US population and decimate the earth — and that there have been troubling geological developments, like a lake at Yellowstone shifting from the rising of the magma. In brief — don’t purusue fracking anywhere close to Yellowstone, and I don’t just mean within the park’s limits.

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