Saudi attack reminds of oil vulnerability
Officials in Saudi Arabia have said damage from a recent attack on oil production facilities is being repaired quickly. By last week Wednesday, about half the production capacity affected had been restored.
Still, the interruption in exports from the oil-rich kingdom ought to serve as a reminder that U.S. politicians who advocate shutting down our nation’s fossil-fuel industry without having true alternatives in place are wrong.
Some Democratic candidates for president have gone as far as to demand that hydraulic fracturing — “fracking” — of oil and gas wells be banned. That would be a body blow to the industry, which relies largely on that technology, as well as horizontal drilling, for production.
U.S. reliance on imported natural gas has virtually ended because of the energy revolution during the past decade or so. We are finding and pumping more and more petroleum, too.
But our dependence on imports remains high. In 2018, the last year for which statistics are available, we Americans consumed an average of about 20.5 million barrels of oil each day. Imports, at 9.93 million barrels, were nearly half that.
We are extremely fortunate that 43% of petroleum imports come from our good friends, the Canadians. But we still rely for an enormous quantity — enough to bring the economy crashing down — from nations where production interruptions are a distinct possibility.
Energy independence is on the horizon, but only if U.S. producers are permitted to employ cutting-edge technology to find and supply oil and gas. Regardless of what “new green deal” advocates claim, we Americans will continue to need all the fossil fuel we can get.