The Road to Energy Security
Jul 2, 2012Posted by Scott Bates
Break US Dependence on OPEC oil
For the first time in generations, it is now possible to break US dependence on energy that is purchased from OPEC. The dramatic breakthroughs in extraction technology in the past five years have made accessible vast sources of energy previously out of reach on the North American continent. Some observers say that energy markets are global in nature, and that energy "independence" is not a desirable or achievable goal. However energy has not been a true market since OPEC decided to distort the market by exercising the prerogatives of a cartel. Development of secure sources of energy on the North American continent can be a geopolitical "game changer" for the United States and our allies in terms of rectifying current account imbalances, spurring economic growth and avoiding inflation driven by the price shocks due to decisions taken in the OPEC board room in Vienna.
US and Canada as undisputed leaders in energy technology
The energy sources unlocked by technological developments in the oil and gas industry in the last five years are not confined to North America, nor are the technology and techniques necessary for enjoying the benefits of these discoveries unique to our region. History is replete with instances where those who invested in a scientific breakthrough or provided investment for a revolutionary technique were outpaced by competitors who moved more quickly. By moving with all deliberate speed to develop the full potential of shale and natural gas deposits on the North American continent, in addition to creating secure sources of energy, North American companies can become the undisputed leaders in a field of energy exploration and development that is soon to sweep the world and transform markets. It is in our national security and economic interest to ensure that North American companies and workers are the best equipped and best trained to take advantage of these tremendous wealth creation opportunities.
Building Resilient Infrastructure
The supplies and technology exist to access the resources needed to have secure sources of energy for the United States based on the North American continent, however much infrastructure needs to be built in order to safely develop and move these resources to market. One or two instances of error leading to environmental damage can be enough to halt billion dollar projects that could lead to thousands of new jobs and reduced carbon emissions. It is therefore imperative that new infrastructure needs to be built to create safe and secure sources of energy for North America. Systems must be resilient enough to withstand natural disasters and deter those who may have an interest in disrupting supply.
In the past decade the world has gone through a period of tremendous turbulence. The Middle East has been and continues to be wracked by war and instability. Competition from East Asia has led to job disruption for millions of Americans and financial shocks on Wall Street have rocked main streets across North America. Yet amidst all this uncertainty the potential exists for greatly improving our national security situation and economic prospects. By building the new and resilient infrastructure necessary to take advantage of developments in energy technology, we can create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, break our dependence on OPEC oil and reduce emissions.
However to build the infrastructure necessary to make this vision a reality, coalitions will have to be developed that can create the political and regulatory environment necessary for sustainable energy projects to move forward. For citizens to enjoy all the benefits of secure sources of energy, they will have to accept exploration, development and transport of oil and natural gas on a larger scale than has been the case to date. For industry to enjoy the tremendous opportunities available in North America, they will have to work with the public and elected officials to create a regulatory regime that fosters sustainable development.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Center for National Policy.
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