People ask all the time about energy independence. What does it mean to be independent? Do we want energy independence? Are we going to achieve energy independence? This depends a lot on what you consider energy independence to really mean. A lot of people think that energy independence means energy isolation. In other words, you don’t buy or sell any energy resources with any other country on the planet. But I don’t think this is really what we want. You see, as the biggest energy producer and consumer on the planet, what we want is to leverage affordable energy products like cheap heavy sour crude out of Canada, and use those products, leverage them in our refining and transportation infrastructure, to be an energy market leader.
More specifically, when we talk about things like energy dominance, what we’re looking for is the United States to drive energy markets and energy products in markets around the world. In October we saw a big indicator of how the United States is doing when it comes to driving those markets. In 1968 the United States hit a valley or a low point in its net consumption or net import of petroleum products. In 1968 the United States imported 19.5% of its net petroleum products, but from 1968 until 2005 that number increased steadily as our oil production went down and our energy consumption when up. In 2005 we hit a high point. In that year the United States imported over 60% of its net petroleum products.
However in 2005, as we saw the shale revolution began to take hold in the US energy markets, we saw US oil production began to grow substantially and our usage of natural gas and other energy sources began to increase as well. As a result, our import percentage of our petroleum consumption began to decline. In 2017, specifically in October, the United States imported 20.5% of its net petroleum products. From 2005 to 2017, that’s a 40% decline in how much of our petroleum products we import. That is gaining remarkable strength in our ability to drive markets around the world. In fact the United States is today a net energy exporter, selling both refined products and natural gas to other countries around the world. When we look 10 years and 20 years down the road, and we see the United States becoming a more and more powerful energy market player, we know that our strength in energy will pay dividends in several other industries, and for a long long time, and that is something for all of us to be excited about.
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Ryan Sitton is a native Texan who grew up in the Irving area. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University where he earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Ryan founded PinnacleAIS, an engineering and technology company focused on reliability and integrity programs for the oil, gas, and petrochemical industries. He was elected to the Railroad Commission in 2014 to a six-year term. You can read more about Ryan HERE.