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Commentary: Economic and national security rely on American energy independence

Commentary: Economic and national security rely on American energy  independence
August 24
03:50 2017

By Algenon Cash

Guest Columnist

Every year, American sends billions of dollars to countries engulfed in turmoil and populated by people who clearly don’t like us or the values that are so important to our way of life.  These countries threaten our national and fiscal security by exploiting our growing demand for energy and increasing reliance on their oil resources to feed that demand. 

Undoubtedly, we understand the expansion of domestic energy production can significantly boost jobs, grow our economy, and reduce burgeoning federal deficits – but more homegrown energy can also improve national security.

World petroleum consumption is around 84 million barrels a day and the United States consumes about 25 percent of that production, which makes us the Number One consuming country in the world. Over 2 million barrels a day are imported from countries that have expressed disdain for America – these are places such as Venezuela and the Middle East. 

Energy is at the center of life for most American families and business owners; it directly or indirectly drives the cost of gas, food, and utilities.  Relying on countries that are clearly not our allies places American strategic interests in jeopardy.

Emerging technology in energy exploration is creating new options for domestic production and bringing forth the possibility that America can achieve energy independence.  Technologies such as horizontal drilling is helping oil companies to restart what they once thought were exhausted oil wells and its largely responsible for lifting U.S. oil production 25 percent since 2008, which has reduced the cost of oil imports by $75 billion.  The careful expansion of offshore oil exploration along the Atlantic Coast could further improve output to meet growing energy demand.

Other technologies such as hydraulic fracturing have been around 60 years; a process that allows energy production companies to extract natural gas from shale developments, higher oil costs is making the process more cost efficient. 

The United States is estimated to have enough natural gas to meet 100 percent of current domestic demand for at least 90 years and shale gas accounts for 10 percent of the overall U.S. energy supply.  The unprecedented growth of shale gas will save Americans from spending $100 billion on importing liquefied natural gas and deeply incentivize companies to remain in the country instead of searching for lower energy cost countries to operate.

The 1973 oil crisis motivated President Jimmy Carter to consolidate energy policy into the U.S. Department of Energy in 1977. The department was given one simple mission – reduce America’s reliance on foreign oil. 

They were given a budget of $5 billion in the first year, under the current administration; DOE’s budget has ballooned to $25 billion.  Are we any less reliant on foreign oil? 

The only way to achieve that coveted goal is to increase domestic production, which requires less burdensome regulations so that we can access more homegrown energy assets.

Algenon Cash is the managing director of Wharton Gladden & Company, an investment banking firm, he is also a national spokesperson for the oil and natural gas industry.  Reach him at acash@nullwhartongladden.com.

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