mead berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn bayles
Hail Shale
US Energy Consumption Nearly Eclipsed by Surging Production

2015 was another big year for American energy, as for the sixth straight time the sum total of our production grew—and came quite close to equalling the amount of energy we consumed. The EIA reports:

[E]nergy production reached a record 89 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu), equivalent to 91% of total U.S. energy consumption. Liquid fuels production drove the increase, with an 8% increase for crude oil and a 9% increase for natural gas plant liquids. Natural gas production also increased 5%. These gains more than offset a 10% decline in coal production. […]

U.S. primary energy net imports declined for the 10th consecutive year. Imports rose 2%, but that increase was outpaced by a 6% increase in exports. Petroleum products accounted for 71% of U.S. primary energy exports. […]

After increasing in 2013 and 2014, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from energy consumption fell by 2% in 2015. An increase in natural gas used for power generation, largely replacing coal, was the primary reason for this decrease, as natural gas is less carbon-intensive than coal.

It’s important to caveat this achievement, though. The fact that the amount of energy we produce is nearing the amount we consume does not mean that we’re close to being able to wall ourselves off from global energy markets. Take oil as an example. The shale boom has boosted our crude production by 40 percent in a matter of years, but even if we were able to drill more than we require, we would still import and export plenty of oil—producers will look to sell their cargoes wherever they can fetch the best price, and the oil market is a particularly global and liquid one. Energy independence, therefore, is something of a myth.

But the effect the shale boom is having on our collective energy security is undeniable, and it ought to be getting credit for the economic and geopolitical boon it has been.

Newer Post Older Post
Features Icon
show comments
  • White Knight Leo

    “Energy independence, therefore, is something of a myth.”
    It’s still good news.

  • Fracking and shales are also supporting the ‘renewables’ industry which has yet to make a single piece of toast at the consumer end.

  • Robert Brady

    Obama will claim he’s responsible for this, adding to the litany of his lies.

  • Ziv Bnd

    The move from coal to natural gas has lowered our CO2 emissions considerably. In fact, we are one of the few countries that is close to reducing our CO2 emissions to the amount emitted in 1990 as the Kyoto Protocol/UNFCCC called for. Kind of amusing that it was fracking that got us here.
    That doesn’t count the CH4 & N2O goals but those are just minor details…
    Now if we would just build 20 or 30 new nuclear power plants to complement the new wind and solar plants we would be good to go in 12 to 18 years. Absent the Byzantine EIS process…

  • Frank Natoli

    Energy independence, therefore, is something of a myth.
    So what? What’s important is not energy independence. What’s important is that a cartel does not have a stranglehold on U.S. energy supply, which was the case for almost four decades, a consequence of falling U.S. domestic supply, itself a consequence of aging conterminous wells and an environmental lobby stranglehold on new U.S. energy exploration, extraction, transportation and refining. Then came hydraulic fracturing on private land, beyond the reach of the environmental extremists, and the world changed, all for the better. And please don’t forget that almost one trillion barrels of conventionally extractible oil remains under ANWR, Pacific, Gulf and Atlantic coasts, waiting for the will in Washington to permit its exploitation.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2017 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service