Peak Oil is You

Donate Bitcoins ;-) or Paypal :-)

Page added on February 28, 2021

Bookmark and Share

Don’t Believe the US Energy Independence Hype


The U.S. is energy independent, right? Well, that’s what some politicians would have you believe, but it’s not really true in any meaningful sense of the word “independent.”

In its broadest sense, energy independence can be taken to mean that the country produces more energy than the country consumes. That is the basis on which politicians make the claim, but it conceals a whole host of mutual dependencies with foreign states that cannot be ignored. I would argue that the situation is more accurately described as self-sufficiency rather than true independence.

In 2019, the U.S. produced more primary energy (principally oil, natural gas, coal, biofuels and some electricity) than it consumed. It was the first time the country had done so since the 1950s, and it’s on that fact that claims of energy independence hang.

Energy Independence?

In 2019 the U.S. produced more energy than it used for the first time since 1957

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

The swing has been huge. In 2019, energy production exceeded consumption by the equivalent of 412,000 barrels of oil a day, according to figures from the Energy Information Administration. A decade earlier, consumption outstripped production by the equivalent of 10 million barrels a day. In 2005 the gap was more than 14.5 million barrels.

Talking about “energy” broadly allows politicians to make some tub-thumping statements, but it doesn’t really help our understanding of what this means and, perhaps more importantly, what it doesn’t mean.

Not all energies are the same. Sure there are many things that you can do with any form of primary energy. Coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear power, water, wind and sunlight can all be used to generate electricity with varying degrees of efficiency. But for the most part, you drive your car or pick-up, or fly an airplane, on fuels derived from oil. The British traveler Robert Byron did attempt to cross Persia and Afghanistan in the 1930s with two charcoal-power Rolls Royces — they were not a success.

These differences are important.

Net Flows

The U.S. became a net energy exporter in 2019 thanks to falling crude imports

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, the U.S. was still a net importer of oil, including both crude and refined products. The shale boom had already made deep inroads into the country’s need for foreign oil and the slump in demand that followed on the heels of the virus tipped the scales. Last year, for the first time since 1952, the U.S. exported more oil than it imported.

Got There!

The U.S. became a small net oil exporter in 2020

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Note: Includes crude oil and refined products

But while the balance had shifted, it didn’t necessarily mean the country has become self-sufficient. The U.S. imported close to 6 million barrels a day of crude last year, more than half as much as it pumped out of the ground at home.

While outbound shipments of refined products stand at about 5 million barrels a day, the country imports about 2 million barrels a day from overseas. And there are some surprising trade partners. Russia is the second-biggest foreign supplier of refined products to the U.S., just behind Canada, and accounted for almost a quarter of the imports in the first 11 months of last year.

Even though the energy statistics from the EIA may indicate that U.S. oil exports have frequently exceeded imports since the beginning of last year, it really isn’t self-sufficient yet.

Net Exporter

The U.S. is now more often a net oil exporter than it is an importer, but it’s still not “independent”

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

True independence is even further off.

Events in the Middle East may no longer be as critical for U.S. energy security as they once were, but they remain far from irrelevant. What’s more, the U.S. can play into tensions. With President Joe Biden taking a tougher line than his predecessor toward Persian Gulf ally Saudi Arabia, some people are worried he may put U.S. energy independence at risk.

Physical flows of crude from the Persian Gulf to U.S. shores have dwindled to a trickle, suggesting that a total halt wouldn’t have a dramatic impact and could be offset by increasing purchases form elsewhere or slowly drawing down strategic stockpiles. But events in the region that still pumps close a third of the world’s crude can still roil markets, generating huge swings in oil prices that affect everyone from shale frackers to car drivers.

Until the U.S. can isolate itself from those types of effects, it will never be truly energy independent.


15 Comments on "Don’t Believe the US Energy Independence Hype"

  1. makati1 on Sun, 28th Feb 2021 3:58 pm 

    The US has not been “energy independent” for decades, if ever. Cut off all oil from outside the 50 states and see what happens to Amerika. CRASH!

  2. Theedrich on Sun, 28th Feb 2021 5:33 pm 

    China is not Joe Biden’s only income source. Besides the Middle Kingdom, Ukraine, Russia, etc., etc., he and his bribe-ocrats (in both parties, with their supporters) are handsomely paid by international Latino drug- and people-smuggling outfits.  That is the true reason why the shadowy operatives behind the Basement Dweller direct him to import countless parasites and caravans from the Southlands.  Of course, since the days of proto-LGBTQ member J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI perversions and Ollie North’s Iran-Contra double-dealing, the American government has been famous for swindles, anti-citizenry duplicities, and hidden corruption of all types.  The only difference now is that the entire nation is facing the barrel of the traitors’ gun.

    It is possible for a nation to survive even military defeat or many other catastrophes.  But the back-stabbing and treachery of its own leaders it cannot live through.  Now that multi-billionaire traitors, bloodsuckers and worms control the realm, the nation is finished.  Lies about green “renewable energy” befog the public mind, not to mention drivel about “American values” (as defined by the rulers) — along with media diversions, delusions and prevarications — keep even the non-narcotized public in a stupor.  But behind the backs of the uninformed, grim reality grinds on, as explained by Gail Tverberg in her most recent post, “Why Collapse Occurs; Why It May Not Be Far Away”.  The Big Guy’s response:  “What?  Me worry?”

    The fact is, self-delusion is the shortest way to collapse.

  3. makati1 on Sun, 28th Feb 2021 6:18 pm 

    Dumbed down, brainwashed Amerikan serfs have been suckered for decades by the government whores called Congress, and all the other multi-millions living off the government dole/taxpayer’s blood as “employees” or just plain beggars, as in welfare, etc.. “Bread and Circus” to keep the serfs from sharpening their pitchforks and gathering buckets of tar.

    Will it last? NOPE! The sounds of collapse are all around. Better to live in a 2nd class country than in Amerika these days. Pass the popcorn. ^_^

  4. Biden’s hairplug on Sun, 28th Feb 2021 11:43 pm 


    Donnie has found a way to keep himself young, sharp, vital by running for prez in 2024 and “win for a third time”:

    “Trump says the Supreme Court should be ‘ashamed’ for not having guts to overturn ‘rigged’ election, hammers Biden, Big Tech, internal GOP enemies and cancel culture – and trails a ‘triumphant return’ to White House“

    Hmmm, difficult to see how he could beat Dominion in 2024.

    Hopefully the GOP throws him out, forcing him to establish a third party and as such blow up the party system and use a Patriot Party as an organizational nucleus to escape from Washington.

    The never ending disaster that is Brexit. The Bank of England sounding the alarm bells over the immanent loss of trillions of euros of derivatives trade. The EU tried that 10 years ago (they didn’t like a non-euro member to control euro-denominated trade), but then the UK, as an EU member, was protected by the EU high court.

    No more.

    Scottish independence probably called off, well for the moment, as the SNP leadership is in a process of suicide, which will probably cost the heads of both Alex “I’m gonna land my hand on your but” Salmond and Nicola “I’m going to put my knife in your back” Sturgeon.

    I have no idea if the SNP has a third candidate waiting in the wings to take over. To be continued:

    “Support for Scottish independence plummets to less than half of all Scots – and 39% believe Sturgeon’s government covered up ‘conspiracy’ against Salmond over sex assault claims“

    Yesterday the Dutch national election debate:

    For me the complete horror as there is nothing to choose from, all bad.

    To my surprise the three right-wing parties want nuclear energy. No-go area.

    Wilders-PVV wants to halt immigration (hear-hear!), but also a Nexit. Pro-Nukes.

    Rutte-VVD is a US-groupie and Putin hater and immigration and big business lover. Pro-Nukes. Pro-EU, like all, minus Wilders. Teaches history to Moroccans on every friday.

    Hoekstra-CDA is probably the least bad, but also pro-nukes.

    The three lefties want to promote wimmen and darkies, no-go area. They don’t want nukes.

    The right is going to win in a landslide as they represent 1, 2 and 3 in the polls.

  5. Biden's hairplug on Mon, 1st Mar 2021 1:32 am 

    The EU-UK battle that could turn extremely nasty:

    “Brexit leaves London fighting for its future as Europe poaches business”

    “Bank of England to ‘resist firmly’ EU raid on London, warns governor”

    “London could lose out to New York under draft EU finance deal”

    “Top banker says UK must fight EU power grab”

    Although there will never be joint EU-Chinese military maneuvers (on the contrary, they will fight over the remains of the US after CW2), the developing situation points exactly in the direction of de facto a major conflict between Eurasia and Anglosphere, very similar to the situation in 1939, when the US and USSR had a combined interest in organizing the rape of Europe, enabled by useful idiots Britain and Poland, only to turn into adversaries directly afterwards.

    The Chinese will love this sudden Brexit rift, as well as the Russians, who probably played a decisive role in “getting Brexit done” via a chap by the name of Arron Banks, who subsidized the Brexit campaign, probably funded by Moscow, that aimed at kicking Britain out of Europe, only to take its place, a move any white nationalist can only support.

    So, on the western edge of Eurasia we have a situation where the UK will try to destroy the EU (the 1891 “Germania delenda est” has now been replaced by “EU delenda est”) and the EU will try to return the favor and strip the UK of any asset it has, like its complete financial industry, as a warning against other potential defectors. Oh and the EU has the better cards. And we will never allow a new geopolitical adversary like Britain to control the trade of Euro-denominated financial assets. A growing hostility EU-UK could provide the required impetus to finally get serious about that EU-army and the overthrow of all these Anglo WW1 and WW2 propaganda hoaxes.

    On the Eastern end, we have China preying on both Taiwan and Australia and waits for a suitable moment to make its move:

    “Chinese Company Plans to Build $39B City near Australia”

    Won’t belong, as the US is stumbling from one disaster into the next. The country is split in the middle, its planes are falling out of the sky, its grid is highly vulnerable and backward, they missed the boat with renewables, have the largest trade deficit in the world and now to top it off, both their F35 and F22 projects have been declared a failure, leaving Europe with having the best fighter jets in the world (Rafale, Euro fighter and Sukhoi):

    “The F35 is Dead – Damage $1.75 Trillion R&D”

    The US top military wants to develop a new simpler plane, something that will take a decade to complete. The US could of course buy European planes for a change, like Europe bought F16s, but that would contradict its outdated “exceptionalist” line of thinking, that loves to think they have Europe in their pocket. They are soon going to find out that is not the case.

    In 1945, American and Soviet hands were shaken in Torgau in Germany. In a not too distant future it will be European and Chinese hands shaking, somewhere east of Vancouver.

  6. Anonymouse on Mon, 1st Mar 2021 2:01 am 

    Who are you talking to cloggjude? I dont have to bother reading your stupid spam to know it has ZIP do with the article (it never does). And your boyfriend the missouri madman is long gone so…..who again?

  7. Cloggie on Mon, 1st Mar 2021 3:35 am 

    Do I hear a Llama shitting?

    “Building Wind park Friesland Started”

    Including time line for the Netherlands to complete the 100% renewable electricity transition (2030) en 100% renewable primary energy transition (2050).

  8. Cloggie on Mon, 1st Mar 2021 4:49 am 

    Dutch election debate evaluation:

    “Dutch Right-wing Parties Want Nuclear Energy”

  9. Cloggie on Wed, 3rd Mar 2021 3:19 am 

    List of the 10 largest US wind farms:

    The entire scene is dominated by Europeans, just like oil was dominated by Americans in a previous millennium. In hydrogen, Americans are completely absent, as they are stuck into thinking that hydrogen is not a source of energy, which is entirely true and entirely irrelevant.


  10. makati1 on Wed, 3rd Mar 2021 3:30 am 

    The EU is dying, along with the rest of the West. Windmill numbers don’t mean shit if they only work occasionally. Ask the Texans.

    Keep preaching the techie dream if it makes you happy, but don’t expect people, who are intelligent and can think on their own, to believe you. Windmills are, at best, energy neutral if you consider ALL of the energy to make them happen. Maybe even a net loss. Probably so.

    Prove me wrong with facts, like how much energy to make the machines, that mine the ores, to make the roads that they are transported on, The factories where they are fabricated, the trucks that transport them, the cranes to hoist them in place, the replacement parts, and on and on. Net energy LOSS for sure! They can never exist without FFs ongoing.

  11. Biden's hairplug on Wed, 3rd Mar 2021 4:35 am 

    “The EU is dying, along with the rest of the West. Windmill numbers don’t mean shit if they only work occasionally. Ask the Texans.”

    We’re not going to ask backward Americans for advice on anything. Strange that both Europeans and Chinese are betting on renewable energy, but a fundamental hypocrite and probable half-chink like you, will always brush that under the carpet, while proclaiming that China is going to win. Doesn’t add up, just shows your Asian chauvinism.

    What is your proof that the EU is “dying” anyway. We have the global lead in all things renewable, in record time we installed the EU, euro (will soon surpass the dollar), parliament, president, integrated Eastern Europe and significantly raised their wealth. We are the world’s largest exporters. EU-Chinese trade has now surpassed EU-US trade. The EU soon will have air-supremacy over the US, not to mention China, now that the F22 and F35 are dead. We got rid of our eternal anti-European English enemy on the cheap, a country that is now going to break apart, Germany-1918-style. Europe and China have a quiet mutual interest in wiping the dollar from Eurasia. China is betting on the rise of Europe, they know Russia is European and don’t object its merger with the EU. After all, this is an official Chinese map:

    Unlike globalist Anglo loose cannons, the Chinese understand 3000 years old IDENTITY, they wouldn’t dream of pissing their country away to the turd world.

    “China presses Europe for anti-U.S. alliance on trade”

    “The Strategic Implications of the China-EU Investment Deal”

    Got that?

    Behind the scenes Europe and China are quietly in agreement how the world should look like after the US empire.

    “‘US losing world leadership, Europe can replace it’ – EU top diplomat Mogherini”

    Entirely realistic. EU + Russia + Heartland USA + UK-CAN combined will be the #1 in the world, by far. Chinese realists will be OK with that.

    And once the English are coming to terms with the complete failure of their grand strategy (=Anglosphere #1), they will accept membership of the Common Market (not the EU) and be grudgingly loosely allied to Europe and they can have Anglo-Canada, while we take Heartland USA as a junior partner in our white race Commonwealth.

    We’re going to have a multi-polar identitarian world order, carried by #1 Europe, #2 China and #3 Islam.

    Absolutely valid to verify that statement with this state of affairs:

    Throw Russian and some US medals onto one big heap and you have a perfect preview of the geopolitical distribution of power after ZOG.

    Eurosphere on top, like it always was, until ZOG-Russia-1917, ZOG-USA-1933 and ZOG-UK-1940 peed in the European soup in WW2 and the globalists-leftists temporarily carried away the victory for the kikes. Meanwhile, the USSR is defunct, the US almost and the UK about to be dismembered.


  12. makati1 on Wed, 3rd Mar 2021 4:01 pm 

    Biden’s, maybe you should not listen to so much Western Sinophobic propaganda? Join us in the real world.

    “China Built Three Times as Much Coal Power in 2020 as the Rest of the World Combined.” February 2021 article.

    I won’t bother to shoot down the rest of your brainwashed assertions as you will just ignore them anyway. China knows oil and natural gas is not going away any time soon, and “renewables” will not power their economy of 1.4 billion consumers. Coal is reliable, wind and solar aren’t. Both are net power losses. Most places in the world are not suitable for either.

    “Green tech” is just more elite bullshit for the dumbed down Western masses. A money pit for stupid investors.

  13. makati1 on Wed, 3rd Mar 2021 4:05 pm 

    The EU is kicking Russia out, not drawing them in. NATO will not allow a Russian/EU power. Nor will they allow a Chinese/EU power. And never a three way EU/Russian/Chinese power. Until the EU gets rid of NATO, it is just a huge target for WW3. The West is going down. Be patient and prepare. Pass the popcorn.

  14. Biden's hairplug on Thu, 4th Mar 2021 12:18 pm 

    “The EU is kicking Russia out, not drawing them in. NATO will not allow a Russian/EU power. Nor will they allow a Chinese/EU power. And never a three way EU/Russian/Chinese power.”

    The US isn’t that powerful anymore and can’t impose their will like they could before Iraq.

    Meanwhile, Russia is still knocking on the European door:

    “EU and Russia are natural allies, but superstructures in Brussels stand in the way – Moscow’s representative to RT”

    Eventually they will be let in, on the very moment China replaces the US from planetary pole position.

    If the EU defects to Russia too early, the EU and Russia would run the risk of being confronted with a last-minute Chinese-US alliance, and that would be a complete disaster for Europe.

    Things are going fine now, no hurry, no harsh tones. Keep patting Biden on his back, in the meantime let China grow in strength, complete Nord Stream 2, increase trade with China and don’t let yourself being suckered into a conflict with Russia by the US.

  15. Biden's hairplug on Thu, 4th Mar 2021 12:52 pm 

    Irish transporters avoid the UK, take the boat to Europe instead:

    “Brexit: Why Irish freight trade is avoiding Britain”

    Analysis of how the EU got everything it wanted and the UK very little.

    Sympathetic British entrepreneur about the disaster that is Brexit for him.

    Senior FT journalist about Brexit (“Global Britain is an empty phrase”).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *