We’re importing the least amount of oil from OPEC in 28 years, according to the EIA. The last time we imported this little from the petrostate cartel was way back in April 1987. Bloomberg reports:
In the past six years, U.S. production has increased dramatically, catching global markets off-guard and contributing to the crash in oil prices. Last year, the U.S. surpassed Saudi Arabia to become the world’s biggest oil producer.
America’s new oil, plus rising imports from Canada, has helped cut OPEC imports by more than half.
The cause of this dramatic change in our energy trade balance is no great secret, either. Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal well-drilling have unlocked oil and gas trapped in what was thought to be inaccessible shale rock, unleashing a flood of domestic production that unsurprisingly has the U.S. buying less crude from abroad.
This trend is what the Saudis are fighting when they continue to let oil prices drop. From their perspective, the world’s petrostates are seeing a market they perhaps took for granted upended by innovative new technologies. From ours, the American energy outlook appears very bright indeed.