NORTH AMERICA: An Oil and Gas Powerhouse
By Marita Noon
Edited by Frank Callom
North America Oil and Gas reserves is growing exponentially mainly because of better sourcing and drilling techniques. Look to Mexico for an example. Mexico has huge oil-and-gas reserves–estimated at 115bn barrels of oil equivalent, comparable to Kuwait’s—but lacks the technology to develop non-conventionals, such as shale gas and deep-sea crude. President Pena Nieto is looking to make reforms that would allow foreign companies to partner with the state-owned oil company, Pemex, to bring the wealth to the surface. This is a good thing for their economy in the long run.
The Saudi Prince Alwaleed recently warned: “the kingdom’s oil-dependent economy is increasingly vulnerable to rising North American energy production.” Alwaleed’s comments were penned before Mexico announced its intended energy reforms. The thought of Mexico’s resources flowing on to the global market has got to make the prince increasingly nervous.
The reality of North America becoming an “oil-and-gas powerhouse” threatens more than just OPEC nations. In response to the USA Today editorial, Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), wrote an “opposing view” proclaiming: “Increasing domestic oil and gas production is no panacea for our nation’s energy needs or economy.”
Energy and the Economy
Apparently, she is not aware that regions with oil-and-gas development have some of the lowest unemployment in the country–states with resource extraction such as Texas, Montana, Oklahoma, and Wyoming all have unemployment rates below the national average and North Dakota has the lowest in the country at 3.9%. My home state of New Mexico shares the rich Permian Basin with Texas. There, they tell me: “Anyone who can pass a drug test can get a job.”
Of course, Beinecke resorts to the environmentalists’ standard claim: “The fracking that is driving our oil and gas surge has grown at breakneck speed.” She continues: “states have responded with weak rules and limited enforcement.” Environmental groups, like Beinecke’s NRDC, want the federal government to add regulation on fracking–which will increase the cost and slow the growth of drilling.
States have been regulating hydraulic fracturing for more than 40 years with great success. This proposed rule is just another layer of unnecessary regulation that will cause significant delays and hinder natural gas production, Environmentalists’ hyperbole about the use of hydraulic fracturing would lead the general public to believe that the practice is new. In fact it has been successfully used to extract oil and gas for more than 60 years–and, over the decades, it has been refined and made giant technological leaps. Attempts to link fracking to water contamination have repeatedly been disproven.
When environmentalists refer to “clean energy,” they are most often referring to wind and solar–which produce electricity, albeit ineffectively, inefficiently and uneconomically. Only a tiny fraction of electricity in the US is produced from oil. The oil we import goes toward the transportation fleet. Until there are quantum leaps in technology, there will never be a massive shift from petroleum-based vehicles to electric. So Beinecke’s dream of “clean energy resources” will not reduce our “reliance on oil and gas.”
Let’s build the Keystone pipeline and work with Mexico to use techniques, perfected in America’s oil fields, to bring its wealth to the surface. North America can be an oil-and-gas powerhouse–but government energy policies have to change like in Mexico. Then prosperity and liberty can be restored.
The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE)