As the world’s top producer of natural gas and petroleum, according to the latest federal data, America’s energy dominance is creating economic opportunities and strengthening energy security here at home, while bolstering geopolitical stability abroad. Lawmakers and experts discussed the role of American energy in influencing foreign policy during a U.S. House Foreign Affairs subcommittee yesterday.
As E&E News reported on the hearing, “the United States’ success in domestic oil and gas production gives the nation and its allies added security from hostile regimes like Russia.”
Kenneth Medlock, senior director of the center for energy studies at Rice University, said the U.S. is a “credible threat” to Russian hegemonic intent in Europe…
Subcommittee Chairman Ted Poe (R-Texas) said the U.S.’s growing energy presence means its previous reliance on oil-abundant repressive regimes like Russian and Venezuela is diminishing. “With growing energy independence, we can pick our allies rather than have them picked for us by the necessity of access to oil,” said Poe.
Mexico, Canada and the U.S. are intertwined “dramatically” in the energy field, Poe said… “Our integrated energy network makes North America a rock of stability and prosperity in the world.”
U.S. Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) and Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade chairman discussed in his opening statement this historic, positive shift in our energy outlook and its implications for American foreign policy:
“In large part, America’s revival as an energy superpower is a result of the shale revolution…
“Thanks to innovations in liquified natural gas—commonly known as LNG—we can ship this growing resource anywhere in the world. In the last year, we have become a net exporter of natural gas for the first time in 60 years.
“For far too long, our European allies have been vulnerable to energy blackmail from Russia – particularly through the supply of Russian natural gas. But with American LNG alternatives, European states can stand up to Putin’s bad behavior without suffering retaliation through their gas supply.”
Here are additional highlights from yesterday’s hearing:
Kenneth Medlock, Senior Director of Center for Energy Studies at Rice University:
“Altogether, the expansion of US exports of crude oil, refined products and natural gas have transformed the US from a significant consuming nation that was beholden to policies aimed at securing supplies from foreign countries. Today, the US is a producing nation that can use its energy abundance to wield influence through foreign policy.
“We have already seen evidence of US LNG as a paradigm altering credible threat in the Baltic region. Upon the opening of the LNG import facility in Lithuania, Russia renegotiated the price on its gas sales to the region in order to maintain its market position.”
Sarah Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow, Energy and National Security Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies:
“The U.S. oil and natural gas supply surge is also good for the U.S. economy and national security. First, oil and gas production in the United States is an important source of job creation. Oil and gas production has made important contributions to economic growth and provided crucial stimulus to the economy during the post-Great Recession period… On national security grounds, while the United States still faces significant energy vulnerabilities, it is arguably more energy secure today than it was a decade ago because of the oil and gas supply abundance within the U.S. border.
“North America is now one of the most energy-advantaged regions on the planet. The energy resources contained in Canada, Mexico, and the United States are second to none, and when combined with the region’s stable legal system, liberalized trading environment, crossborder infrastructure, high-tech industries, and educated and competitive labor force, it is hard to match in terms of potential.“
Samantha Gross, Fellow, Cross-Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate, Brookings Institution:
“The boom in U.S. oil and natural gas production has brought clear economic benefits, improving our balance of trade and industrial competitiveness, especially in certain industries. For example, the United States is now one of the world’s most attractive locations for petrochemical investments, an unthinkable prospect a decade ago. ”
“Growing LNG supply from the United States and others gives Europeans options, helping them lessen their dependence on Russian gas while still enjoying the benefits of gas as they strive to reduce the carbon emissions from their power supply.
“U.S. supply of price-responsive, non-political oil and gas contributes to well-functioning global energy markets, providing benefits to energy consumers everywhere.”