At long last, the longstanding goal of America (according to both major political parties) seems within reach. The U.S. is set to overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer by the year 2017. By the year 2025, the U.S. will be exporting more than its importing, and should be fully energy independent by the year 2030. All of this is made possible by new fracking techniques, which have given engineers access to huge reserves of oil and natural gas formerly blocked by shale.
Naysayers are pointing to the potential problems this energy independence brings. Since the U.S. is shipping less oil from overseas, shipping companies are losing large chunks of revenue and rasing overseas shipping rates to try to make up the difference.
Oil imports have declined to 5.4 milllion barrels per day in 2013, the lowest since 1991. This is an 11 percent decline. Suezmaxing hauling earned just $10,652 per day, their lowest earnings in 16 years. Euronav NV lacks 55 percent of their revenue to break even for their 22 tankers, and shares of the company are expected to drop 8.3 percent by the end of the year.
Other problems cited by pessimists include how a lack of revenue from U.S. oil sales might cause even more unrest and turmoil in the already shaky Middle East. However, the benefits of energy independence are expected to greatly outweigh any negative effects the country might have to face. Oil prices could drop as low as $50 per barrel in the near future, helping American citizens at the gas pumps. Also, jobs provided by oil production, refining, transportation, and sales are greatly needed as the country slowly works its way out of the economic recession.
Additionally, success in the U.S. could be the best advocate for convincing the world that our democratic policies do, indeed, work.
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