The Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power today held a hearing to explore the potential to achieve North American energy independence within the decade. In the past five years, North America has been the fastest growing oil and natural gas producing area of the world due to technological advances in the energy sector. The dramatic growth in domestic production has shattered previous notions that America was running out of oil and gas reserves, and has put the goal of American energy independence within reach.
"As recently as 2010, President Obama stated in a national address that we are running out of places to drill on land. He also cites the outdated and misleading claim that we possess only two percent of the world's oil reserves," said Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY). "This pessimistic view is being blown away by reality. Increased domestic oil production is already cutting into the amount we need to import from unfriendly oil-exporting nations, and many experts believe that this production growth can continue for years to come. When you add the equally impressive growth from our ally Canada, the goal of North American oil independence could be reached in as little as a decade."
Raymond James & Associates recently issued a report outlining the driving factors and outcomes of this unprecedented energy boom occurring in the United Sates. Testifying today on that report, John Freeman, Managing Director at Raymond James, explained that American ingenuity and new drilling technologies have put the U.S. on track to become the largest oil producer in the world before the end of the decade. "America is blessed with an abundance of natural resources, we are the largest producer of natural gas in the world, the second largest producer of coal, and in the next several years we'll become the largest oil producer in the world. The future has never been brighter for achieving energy independence," said Freeman.
Daniel Ahn, Ph.D., Chief Commodities Economist with Citigroup, described the positive impacts of America's energy renaissance for our economy and energy security. He said, "The economic consequences of this energy revolution are momentous. The United States may see a minor Industrial Revolution, led by the energy and energy intensive manufacturing sectors, but generating virtuous cycles of job-creating activity through the rest of the economy." Describing America's energy production potential, he added, "The United States is in the midst of a historic energy revolution that could see its total supply rival that of Saudi Arabia or Russia in global oil and gas markets."
New technologies have transformed America's energy landscape and are helping put us on a path toward North American energy independence, but today's witnesses testified that this goal is only attainable with the right energy policies in place. The energy industry is currently facing a number of political roadblocks. Obstacles like President Obama's harsh regulatory polices and his disapproval of the Keystone XL pipeline are preventing America from realizing its full energy potential.
Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources, called on Congress to implement policies which will encourage energy production rather than stifle growth of this dynamic industry. "I am excited about our energy future and therefore our economic future. But I am equally concerned about federal policies that could cost us that future," said Hamm. "I encourage you to make sure we have sound policies in place so that this energy revolution continues to produce jobs, security and economic benefit for all Americans."
Mark Mills, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, explained that America's energy revolution has occurred in spite of President Obama's polices, not because of them, stating, "This growth in energy abundance occurred without policies intended to encourage it, and it has happened almost entirely on private and state, not federal lands." He added, "The United States can, quite literally, drill, dig, build, and ship its way out of the current economic and jobs malaise. But we can do so only if the nation adopts new energy policies that reflect the technological, economic, and demographic realities of 2012."
"The potential benefits of North American energy independence seem almost too good to be true. But they are real and can be achieved. Between increased domestic oil production and growing supplies from Canada, we have the opportunity to liberate ourselves from OPEC's influence, create many new energy industry jobs, and ensure greater supplies and lower prices at the pump in the years ahead," said full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). "This committee has initiated legislation to remove the administration's obstacles to North American energy independence. We will continue to fight for increased leasing on federal lands and a streamlined permitting process. And we will not give up on Keystone XL until it is approved. The goal of North American energy independence is within our grasp and is much too valuable an opportunity to squander."