Natural Gas and International Policy
Recent unrest around the world is making U.S. policy makers to look closely at our nation’s energy policy. Venezuela, one of the world’s largest oil producers, has seen their oil production fall due to political unrest, bad leadership, and a broken economic system. Russia, another major energy producer, is rattling sabers and Europe is uncomfortable with their reliance on imports from the east.
In the midst of this, the United States has seen a renaissance in it’s energy production. It is starting to become a major energy exporter again. Take a look at the below graph from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
For the first time in a long time, we are producing more oil than we are importing. If we take a look at natural gas we see the same thing:
The U.S. is set to become a major exporter of natural gas to the world.
I think that it is worth recognizing that U.S. energy policy has never (or rarely) been driven by environmental issues. Instead, it has largely been market and industry driven. We do not have a national office focused on energy sustainability.
Many state and local governments do work on energy sustainability issues or greenhouse gas management. However, research is starting to show that their efforts are not that influential. The power of national policy overshadows their local initiatives. Thus, while many key local initiatives exist, U.S. national energy policy tends to drive greenhouse gas and green energy trends. Plus, large international events, such as the conflicts in Venezuela and Crimea, tend to have a significant influence on energy policy.