I read with utter astonishment this AP piece today (via Wonkbook):
US may soon become world’s top oil producer
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. oil output is surging so fast that the United States could soon overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s biggest producer.
Driven by high prices and new drilling methods [read: “fracking” -Ed.], U.S. production of crude and other liquid hydrocarbons is on track to rise 7 percent this year to an average of 10.9 million barrels per day. This will be the fourth straight year of crude increases and the biggest single-year gain since 1951.
The Energy Department forecasts that U.S. production of crude and other liquid hydrocarbons, which includes biofuels, will average 11.4 million barrels per day next year. That would be a record for the U.S. and just below Saudi Arabia’s output of 11.6 million barrels. Citibank forecasts U.S. production could reach 13 million to 15 million barrels per day by 2020, helping to make North America “the new Middle East.”
I would just like to point out a few things.
- Aside from assuring that catastrophic global warming continues apace, the fracking phenomenon means that our nation’s ever-dwindling fresh water supplies will be polluted far into the future.
- Extraordinarily profitable extractive industries receive enormous tax breaks and generous environmental waivers under both Democratic and Republican regimes.
- Well at least gas will be cheaper. Oh wait:
The increase in production hasn’t translated to cheaper gasoline at the pump, and prices are expected to stay high relatively high for the next few years because of growing demand for oil in developing nations and political instability in the Middle East and North Africa.
- Ah, but there is a silver lining: there will be jobs!
IHS says the oil and gas drilling boom, which already supports 1.7 million jobs, will lead to the creation of 1.3 million jobs across the U.S. economy by the end of the decade.
Still, more of the money that Americans spend at filling stations will flow to domestic drillers, which are then more likely to buy equipment here and hire more U.S. workers.
“Drivers will have to pay high prices, sure, but at least they’ll have a job,” [economist Philip] Verleger says.
An unprecedented U.S. drilling boom has happened over the last four years. What else has happened over the last four years? Gosh, I’m pretty sure there was something. A big change of some kind…I’m sorry, I can’t think of it just now. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go enjoy a big glass of New York City tap water while it’s still non-flammable.