Exporting crude oil and natural gas from the United States are among the dumbest energy ideas of all time.
Exporting gas is dumb.
Exporting oil is dumber.
The U.S. imports almost half of the crude oil that we use. We import 7.5 million barrels per day. The chart below shows the EIA prediction that production will slowly fall and imports will rise (AEO 2014) after 2016.
This means that the U.S. will never be self-sufficient in oil. Not even close.
What about the tight oil that is produced from shale? That's included in the chart and is the whole reason that U.S. production has been growing. But there's not enough of it to keep production growing for long.
Here is a chart showing the proven tight oil reserves just published last month by the EIA.
Total tight oil reserves are 10 billion barrels (including condensate). The U.S. consumes about 5.5 billion barrels per year, so that's less than 2 years of supply. Almost all of it is from two plays--the Bakken and Eagle Ford shales. We hear a lot of hype from companies and analysts about the Permian basin but its reserves are only 7% of the Bakken and 8% of the Eagle Ford.
Tight oil comprises about one-third of total U.S. crude oil and condensate reserves. The U.S. is only the 11th largest holder of crude oil reserves (33.4 billion barrels) in the world with only 19% of Canada's reserves and 12% of Saudi Arabia's reserves.
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About the Author
Arthur E. Berman is a geological consultant with thirty-three years of experience in petroleum exploration and production. He currently is consulting for several E&P companies and capital groups in the energy sector. He frequently gives keynote addresses for investment conferences and is interviewed about energy topics on television, radio, and national print and web publications including CNBC, CNN, Platt's Energy Week, BNN, Bloomberg, Platt's, Financial Times, Rolling Stone and New York Times.