While America has long talked about the problems of importing vast quantities of oil, due to advancements in fracking technology the country has recently become the largest producer of oil and natural gas in the world. The US has overtaken Russia producing around 7.5 million barrels of oil per day in 2013 and will increase production to 8.4 million barrels per day. With the price of oil currently around $100 per barrel, calls to export some American oil production have begun. This along with the expected opening of export terminals in the southern US and possible approval of the Keystone pipeline, make exporting an attractive proposition.
However despite America’s newfound production boom in oil, it remains a net importer buying around 8 million barrels per day. Furthermore 40 years of policies restricting the export of oil, make it extremely difficult to sell American produced oil internationally. Therefore America should instead focus on the much more plausible goal of energy independence. Official estimates suggest that increasing oil production by around 6 million barrels per day will reach that goal. Another option would be engaging in limited exchanges, in which the US would export light oil in exchange for heavy oil produced abroad. By taking such steps America could become virtually energy independent, and so focus on areas other than energy policy.
by Ashish Sathe