Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

Is energy independence a fantasy?

(Read article summary)

Cliff Owen/AP/File

(Read caption) In this July 2012 file photo, Gulf Power lineman Tommy Williams, of Pensacola, Fla., installs a bolt on a power line pole as his crew repairs downed power lines after a severe storm in Middleburg, Va. A report from Credit Suisse says that massive infrastructure spending is a key to energy independence.

About these ads

The U.S. has become the world's second-biggest oil producer – having passed Russia, and trailing only Saudi Arabia

But can America's vast shale oil and gas reserves – combined with fracking and drilling technlogies – drive the U.S. to complete energy independence?
According to a report from Credit Suisse, the answer is NO. 

But it does suggest that North America in its entirety could one day become energy self-sufficient.

Credit Suisse (CS) bases their findings on these 4 factors:

1. Flow rates from oil wells about 25% higher than now, based on future technology advances
2. More wells that are on average 39% closer together than they are now (what is referred to as  "downspacing" in the oil industry)
3. $95/barrel Brent pricing
4. Increased use of natural gas in the economy?

CS also determined the following constraints to becoming energy self-sufficient:?

1. Fast declining production in shale wells
2. Oil below $75/barrel
3. Enough money to build pipelines and refineries??

CS says US oil production will peak out at 10 million barrels of oil per day (bopd) by around 2022—a double from 2008’s 5 million. 2011 oil production in the US was 5.7 million bopd. 

EIA stats show petroleum consumption has fallen steadily for seven years, and in 2011 was 18.8 million bopd—the same as 1997 and 2 million bopd below the peak in 2005.?

Once you include 3 million barrels of US liquids production (natural gas liquids like propane, butane, condensate and biofuels), overall production was still less than 9 million boepd—not even half of the country's total demand of 19.2 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd).? (RELATED: Will a Melting Arctic Help Postpone Peak Oil?)


Page 1 of 5

Subscribe to Recharge
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.