Consequences of US oil self-sufficiency

#1
Interesting comments here BBC vs Fracking » Spectator Blogs about what happens if the USA doesn't need Gulf oil any more; will they bother to police the Iranians/Saudis, or leave that costly and potentially messy job to people who care (Japan/Europe/China)? Given that we've got the same potential gains in UK, and possibly across northern Europe, where would that leave Putin?
 
#4
Remember this is all still in the short term in the grand scheme of things so I doubt if they would be willing to give up influence which they have worked so hard in the past to obtain
 
#5
What, they can turn coal seam gas into oil?
Bit more complicated than that and involves Canadian contributions as well. Certainly, with LPNG they are beginning to give the Russians a headache, taking over their traditional customers and counter balancing Russian influence in Central Europe.

Article in the Economist... looking
 
#7
US businesses are already bringing manufacturing jobs back to the USA from China etc because the availability of cheap, domestically produced energy completely changes the business case for offshoring manufacturing. Shale gas is a game changer; the Asian power house manufacturing economies don't have it and will have to rely on imports from the Gulf, Australia etc. Shale gas has the potential to challenge the economic norms of the last 20th and early 21st centuries, making the so-called expensive, welfare junkie Western economies competitive again. Bring it on...

And yes, there are commercially viable gas to oil processes around. Not the most energy efficient of processes, but when you are sitting on vast supplies of shale gas, who cares? By the time shale gas has run out, the world will have moved on from fossil fuels.
 
#8
I'm watching the shale gas issue like a hawk and so are quite a few of my colleagues. Bit of a silver lining this.
My job (certifying aircraft engineer) has taken such a kicking lately, with the industry using the downturn to hammer our pay, terms and conditions (yeah I know, join the club mate.) I bet there's plenty of arrsers in the same boat.
My brother is qualified the same as me but also spent a few years, post service, working as a tech for a large gas company and might make the jump when the time is right (or I'll push, see how he gets on...)

Reading around, the EU seems keen to put the kibosh on it but, believe it or not, there's quite a few countries waiting for us to make the first move to see how we get on.
U.K. Dash for Shale Gas a Test for Global Fracking
Fracking in the U.K.: Britain Looks to Boost Shale Gas - Businessweek
Then again, we've been there/heard that before. (Sorry, had some better links: might look for them later.)

Unfortunately, there's a Lib Dem in charge of the Department for Controlling the Climate or whatever it's called, which gets to steer UK energy policy with input from various special interest groups. And by **** are the Libs sold on this green energy bollocks.
To further complicate things, you also have various Tories making a mint from renewables and the effort to plaster subsidy farms all over the UK, creating a massive conflict of interest. Forget gays getting married or whatever, this is one of the biggest internal conflicts going on with the Tories at the minute.
Interesting times.
 
#10
It does make me smile up here when the anti-fracking brigade go an about the alleged problems with drinking water that would ensue, without even for a second considering our water comes from the Pennines and Cumbria and is held in reservoirs before being pumped to their houses. I read recently that there is estimated to be enough gas in our part of Lancashire to keep the UK supplied for 50 years. And that's just in a small region.
Whilst I don't propose that we should be reliant on fossil fuels until it all runs out, what this has the potential to do is tide us over very nicely until decent economically viable alternatives are developed and NOT bloody wind farms!
 
#13
Thorium was getting a lot of coverage even in the mainstream press last year. The Telegraph threw more than a few column inches at it but again it comes up against vested interest.

The French, for instance, were asked by the EU to look at thorium's viability - the French being the 'experts', as they have a big nuclear power generation industry. Unsuprisingly, they suggested we stick with uranium (remember that we only went with uranium for refinement for weapons...). The Chinese are apparently very interested.

And, of course, many businessmen and politicians (the two often being indistinguishable) don't want a fuel source that's so cheap and plentiful.

One thing that continues to strike me when travelling in the States is the obsession with big cars. If the politicians really screwed the nut, they could start a campaign to convince people that it's their 'patriotic duty' to drive less thirsty cars.

There's a pot-load of vested interest again, I acknowledge. The Big Three car manufacturers were shot down (no pun intended) when, in a highly publicised PR faux pas, they hired a private jet to fly to DC to ask for more money for powertrain research; this was at the time of the recent oil price peak and Americans were having to pay (relatively) higher prices for fuel. But no-one pointed out that all the same manufacturers had to do was look at their product portfolios for the European and other non-US markets. They have low-consumption technology, they just don't sell it in their domestic markets.

Hybrids might salve the middle class's conscience in and around town, but hydrocarbon powertrains still have it on longer journeys. A big issue in the US is fuel quality; it's why diesel cars haven't really gained a foothold and hybrids have been able to.

Having Cameron Diaz and the like banging on in TV adverts about using low-energy lightbulbs makes little sense when some cars still struggle to achieve MPG figures in the mid to low twenties.

If you want to consign Arabs to be being camel-whackers again, lose your dependency on oil. That should be a no-brainer of a vote-winner for the Republicans in particular. Unfortunately, some of them are also oil men...

Edited to add: a further twist/irony there is that at several conferences I've been to over the last couple of years, energy security has been a big agenda item.
 
#14
Let's hope that they spend some of the money on something like Thorium reactor research, rather than pissing it all up the wall like they did with North Sea oil.
Memo to politicians. Please, oh please don't look at this as a source of tax revenue to spend on clearing the deficit or bribing the electorate. Let industry do its job and develop the sources for profit; the benefits to the state will be tertiary. Cheap energy supplies to industry will stimulate investment, make manufacturing competitive again and create jobs. Cheap energy for consumers will free up domestic spending. The tax flow will follow on.
 
#15
Unfortunately, there's a Lib Dem in charge of the Department for Controlling the Climate or whatever it's called, which gets to steer UK energy policy with input from various special interest groups. And by **** are the Libs sold on this green energy bollocks.
To further complicate things, you also have various Tories making a mint from renewables and the effort to plaster subsidy farms all over the UK, creating a massive conflict of interest. Forget gays getting married or whatever, this is one of the biggest internal conflicts going on with the Tories at the minute.
Interesting times.
The amusing thing is that the USA has drastically reduced its CO2 emissions thanks to fracking; but you try getting the “greens” to admit that.
 
#16
When the USA no longer needs Middle eastern oil there are going to be quite a few empty docks in Bahrain. The septics won't pay to keep the 5th fleet parked in the gulf. The Chinese are increasing their commercial presence in the region. Will they fill the gap?
 
#17
Regarding US involvement in the Gulf, I would expect them to diversify (avoiding eggs:basket, One syndrome) and so even if they use shale gas they will still maintain a presence in the gulf and other oil areas, however they will have less influence than now.

Yes, fracking has its risks, but so do wind farms and hydroelectric dams. The difference is in the return for that risk, and so far it appears that the benefits outweigh the risks.
 
#18
I doubt Exxon will alter course much with regards to the huge opportunities in African and ME hydro-carbons. They want to own as much of it as they can and milk it while it lasts. US shale is just another extractive opportunity with more regulatory difficulties and higher legal costs.

While that is true I don't expect any changes to the Great Game, Exxon basically is the main driver in US energy policy not the fly by nights in the Federal Government with their hands out for oil lobby campaign funding, the pols will do what they are told and move along to well rewarded posts. Exxon'll be exporting most of US production to Asia if it suits them and don't expect them to up refinery capacity in the US without a great deal of tax payer assistance.
 

Latest Threads