The American oil renaissance

  • 26 December 2018
  • NormanL

A dose of good news about the American energy industry -- you remember, the one Democrats and environmentalists demonized for decades, and are still attempting to litigate out of business. Turns out that through a lot of innovation, and even more risking taking, the U.S. is the world's largest oil producer:

Remember when America’s political class fretted about “peak oil” and dependence on foreign energy? So much for that. The U.S. the other week for the first time in 75 years became a net petroleum exporter as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries wrangled over how to respond to America’s growing energy bounty.

U.S. crude production has surged 20% in a year and nearly tripled in a decade thanks to advances in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. American output is rising at the fastest rate in a century. Earlier this year the U.S. eclipsed Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s largest oil producer.

That's excellent news. Remember how none of this was supposed to be possible? Neither does the man who pushed that narrative harder than most...Barack Obama:

Barack Obama, hilariously, is now claiming credit for the shale boom. “You know that whole suddenly America’s like the biggest oil producer . . . that was me, people,” he said last month at Rice University. But drilling leases on federal land declined 28% during his two terms amid new restrictions on land use. Drilling skyrocketed on private land, despite attempts by his regulators to block pipelines, slow down approvals, and impose higher costs on production.

And such efforts are very likely to get new life with Democrats controlling the House of Representatives. But there's something more powerful at work in the U.S. energg sector than government: free markets...

Politicians in the past have sought to secure American energy independence with price controls, ethanol mandates and the oil export ban. But they and OPEC should note that America owes its new energy prosperity to industry innovation, private property, and the free market.

Let's hope this truly American success story continues into the new year, and beyond.