Friday, March 09, 2018

Fracking Will Make US World’s Largest Fossil Fuel Supplier by 2023, Says IEA

An illustrated Guide to shale gas extraction (Graphic Credit: Guardian) Click to Enlarge.
Fracking will make the United States the largest supplier of oil and gas in the world by 2023, Fatih Birol, head of the International Energy Agency said at the CERAWeek energy conference hosted by IHS Markit in Houston last week.

“What is happening in the US between now and 2025 [is] a huge expansion of oil production, about 80% of the global oil production growth comes from the US.  It exceeds the huge expansion of Saudi Arabia which we witnessed in the 1960s and 70s,” he told The Guardian before the conference began.  “Non-OPEC supply growth is very, very strong, which will change a lot of parameters of the oil market in the next years to come,” Birol told the press in Houston.  “We are going to see a major second wave of U.S. shale production coming.”
Oil Euphoria In Houston
The oil patch kids congregating in Houston are over the moon with joy at the news that the US will now be the tail that wags the fossil fuel dog, at least in the short term.  China reportedly has many times the reserves the US has, but has declined to exploit them as of yet because of the unmitigated damage to the environment extracting and burning them would cause.  The US, on the other hand, doesn’t care ... about the environment.  There are profits to be made and nothing can be allowed to interfere with that.

In fact, US fossil fuel companies have been euphoric at the support for their nefarious plans they have received from the Trump maladministration.  Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has been instrumental in formulating plans to remove the protected status of many federal lands, including the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.  Think Progress reports the New York Times has uncovered several e-mails between Zinke and fossil fuel companies promising to strip protection of those lands so the oil, gas, and coal reserves buried beneath them can be exploited.
Energy Is Power
Remember those geo-political consequences alluded to earlier?  Plentiful supplies of natural gas are helping several European countries thumb their noses at Russia, which used to be their primary source of gas for heating in the winter.  “The U.S. supply of oil and natural gas has contributed to political upheaval in the Middle East, creating new competition for oil exports, and in Russia, a leading supplier of natural gas to Europe,” says Time.  Melting in the Arctic may lead to warfare between several nations as they rush to exploit the oil and gas reserves beneath the sea ice and ice cap.

The tragedy of all this is that the US is poised to plunge headlong into being the principal source of new carbon dioxide emissions in coming years.  What a legacy for a country that claims it wants to become great again but will be the primary cause of tipping the global environment over into irreversible calamity.  Republicans will be able to take pleasure in the fact that they placed profits and political power ahead of the lives of their children and grandchildren. 

Read more at Fracking Will Make US World’s Largest Fossil Fuel Supplier by 2023, Says IEA

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