Olympic Energy: America Secures Gold

Thirty-four years ago in Lake Placid, NY, the U.S. men’s Olympic ice hockey team upended the heavily-favored Soviet Union squad, in what is now known as the “Miracle on Ice.” Sports Illustrated placed this fabled victory first on its Top 10 Sports Moments of the 20th Century.

Today, a similar come-from-behind victory is being forged by the U.S. – one that is not measured by a stopwatch or goals, but rather by BTUs. With the Sochi 2014 Olympics just weeks away, it is hard to imagine that in the span of two Winter Olympics, the U.S. has “dramatically altered” its energy outlook in such a positive way. At the time of the 2006 Games, America’s natural gas and oil imports were increasing while production remained on a downward trend. But now, a historic turn of events has unfolded. American natural gas production is at a record high and the U.S. Energy Information Administration has notably reported that “North America Leads the World in Production of Shale Gas.

So while American athletes fiercely compete for their share of medals during the upcoming Games, our nation should take a great deal of pride in the fact that we are now outpacing the likes of Russia, Saudi Arabia and China in oil and natural gas production. To be sure, the days of energy scarcity for our nation have been replaced with energy abundance. As such, America is reestablishing its global strength and creating enormous economic and environmental benefits associated with safe shale development.

Here’s a look at how America matches up with our global competitors:

RUSSIA

  • “U.S. is Overtaking Russia as Largest Oil and Gas Producer”: The U.S. is overtaking Russia as the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas, a startling shift that is reshaping markets and eroding the clout of traditional energy-rich nations. … “This is a remarkable turn of events,” said Adam Sieminski, head of the U.S. EIA. “This is a new era of thinking about market conditions, and opportunities created by these conditions, that you wouldn’t in a million years have dreamed about.” (Wall Street Journal, 10/2/13)
  • America’s Energy Sector is “Key to Future Economic Growth”:  Despite delays over permits, the oil and gas industry has been able to outperform its foreign counterparts. … We are overtaking Russia as the world’s largest oil and gas producer. … Our private energy sector is unparalleled, and is the key to future economic growth. (MarketWatch op-ed, 10/4/13)
  • “America’s Natural Gas Boom Threatens Russia’s Economic Strategy”An American shale gas boom has been unleashed by the use of hydraulic fracturing, to unlock the energy treasures in the vast porous rock formations that blanket our nation. This, according to Thane Gustafson, a political science at Georgetown University and one of the world’s foremost experts on Russian energy, undermines Moscow’s economic and foreign policy goals. … Fracking should also make us energy-independent by 2035, according to the World Energy Outlook’s 2012 report. That would shatter Moscow’s ambitions. (Investor’s Business Daily editorial, 10/3/13)
  • America Gains Momentum over Russia, Saudi Arabia: The United States has nearly a 100-year supply of natural gas and this year will surpass Russia and Saudi Arabia as the largest producer of natural gas and petroleum in the world. … This presents an opportunity to export U.S. natural gas, bolster our strategic alliances, reduce our trade deficit and create jobs right here at home. (The Hill op-ed, 10/22/13)
  • U.S. Set to “Undermine Russian Energy Dominance”: It is a rare opportunity that isolates Iran, undermines Russian energy dominance and broadly benefits the U.S. economy. … Not long ago, the U.S. was expected to become a major LNG importer, but the success of unconventional gas production has allowed the U.S. to overtake Russia as the world’s largest producer, creating vast export opportunities. (Politico op-ed, 5/22/13)

SAUDI ARABIA

  • U.S. Set to Displace Saudi Arabia by 2020Now the world’s largest natural gas producer, the U.S. is poised to take a growing profile as a gas exporter. (Houston Chronicle op-ed, 10/27/13)
  • U.S.  Will Become The Top Energy Producer, Overtaking Saudi Arabia: “In a tectonic shift, energy independence is not unrealistic for the U.S. in as short a period as 10-20 years,” the National Intelligence Council recently stated. … By harnessing our resources through environmentally safe yet efficient means, it is likely that the United States will become the top oil manufacturer in the world, overtaking Saudi Arabia – a profound shift in the energy universe. (Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed, 7/5/13)
  • IEA: U.S. Energy Outpacing Saudi Arabia, Russia: In its latest annual forecast, released last week, the Paris-based International Energy Agency says fracking means the USA will overtake Russia to become the world’s largest natural gas producer by 2015 and pass Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer by 2017. Longer term, the forecasts get even better. By 2035, the USA could become virtually energy independent. … Inexpensive natural gas has given U.S. manufacturers a competitive edge over foreign factories, helping to revive U.S. industry. (USA Today editorial, 11/22/12)

CHINA

  • Domestic Natural Gas Provides U.S. With a “Huge Advantage” Over China: In one vital sector—energy—the U.S. leads and is pulling away. … No industry is more important than energy, however, and here, the United States is unquestionably stronger. … American energy production is now growing four to five times faster than Chinese output. At this rate, the U.S. will produce four times as much energy as China by the end of the decade. … The American energy boom is due to small, innovative businesses seeing an opportunity to expand, but neither such businesses nor the opportunity to expand exist in China. … Ultimately, the huge gap between the U.S. and China will continue to widen unless Beijing can manage sweeping market-driven reform in energy. … Home-produced energy gives the U.S. a huge and growing advantage in a core economic sector. (The Atlantic, 10/1/13)

  • U.S. Outpacing China in Safe, Tightly-Regulated Shale Production: According to reports from the Energy Information Administration, shale gas accounted for close to 40 percent of all natural gas produced last year in the U.S., beating out both Canada and China. (WDTV, 10/25/13)
  • IEA: North America’s Affordable Energy Undercuts China: Average Japanese or European industrial consumers pay more than twice as much for electricity as their counterparts in the U.S., and even China’s industry pays almost double the U.S. level. …. The United States sees its share of global exports of energy-intensive goods slightly increase to 2035, providing the clearest indication of the link between relatively low energy prices and the industrial outlook. (Release, 11/12/13)
  • China Passes U.S. to Become World’s Leading Energy Importer: Without fanfare, China passed the United States in December to become the world’s leading importer of oil – the first time in nearly 40 years that the U.S. didn’t own that dubious distinction. … As those data points demonstrate, a dramatic shift is occurring in how energy is being produced and consumed around the world – one that could lead to far-reaching changes in the geopolitical order. … Many experts say the U.S. would be the big winner, in position to reshape its foreign policy and boost its global influence. (NBC News, 4/1/13)
  • Marcellus Shale Safely Produces More Natural Gas than Saudi Arabia: If the Marcellus Shale region were a country, its natural gas production would rank eighth in the world. The Marcellus now produces more natural gas than Saudi Arabia. (Associated Press, 10/22/13)

We wish our U.S. athletes the very best in Sochi. They’ve worked incredibly hard, and will make us proud. Likewise, we should all take a moment to reflect on the positive – if not historic – strides that we have made as a nation in the competition for energy security.

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