The United States is world's largest energy producer


Repeal of the export ban on crude oil grows in national urgency each day that goes by. The recent fall in oil prices again spawns bleak forecasts of bust for the shale boom, but consider a monumental change underway. For the first time in 50 years, world oil markets are beginning to hover around the U.S. rather than OPEC, the latter a 65-year-old cartel consisting of nationally owned oil companies, most of whose governments are unstable and inimical to U.S. interests.

As Saudi Arabia predicted in 2011, the global axis of energy has shifted from the Middle East to North America. Low oil prices may unsettle the global oil market, but a powerful historic advantage now sits in our country's lap. The United States has become the world's largest energy producer in combined oil and natural gas, an astonishing feat achieved in 2013.
A year ago, oil prices began their plunge. As a result, half of the rigs have now left the shale fields and more than 100,000 jobs disappeared. Yet the prodigious growth and increasing influence of U.S. oil survives. Rig count is not a reliable indicator for production levels, particularly in hydraulically fractured wells. The most cost-efficient and higher yielding wells are still producing. On May 15, U.S. production reached a stunning 9.6 million barrels.

In response, Saudi Arabia has shifted from its traditional role as the world's swing producer to a defensive one to reclaim lost market share.

U.S. oil now represents 75 percent of the growth in world oil production, a surge in supply that has eroded the Saudis' unquestioned dominance. In a recent decision to maintain or even increase production in response to the current glut, OPEC apparently aims to undermine the profitability of the higher-cost shale industry by prolonging the glut that collapsed oil prices last year.

(By Kathleen Hartnett White, contributor, The Hill) 

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