U.S. Energy Exports and Geopolitical Transformation
Posted March 21, 2019
Earlier this year we noted federal projections that U.S. liquefied natural gas export capacity would reach almost 9 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2019, with exports averaging 5.1 Bcf/d. Add to that crude oil and other liquids, and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that the U.S. will export more energy than it imports by 2020 – for the first time since the 1950s.
The numbers take on even more significance as the context for U.S. energy leadership around the world. At the CERAWeek conference earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talked about the unique opportunity for U.S. energy to transform geopolitical realities and in the process make Americans safer. Video of Pompeo’s CERAWeek speech:
Pompeo said U.S. energy can serve as a secure, reliable supply option for friends and allies who’ve been dependent on suppliers that used energy as a political lever. But it’s more than that, Pompeo said. It’s energy as a catalyst to grow global partnerships that broadly enhance U.S. security:
“We’re not just exporting American energy, we’re exporting our commercial value system to our friends and to our partners. The more we can spread the United States model of free enterprise, of the rule of law, of diversity and stability, of transparency and transactions, the more successful the United States will be and the more successful and secure the American people will be.”
The secretary credited free enterprise, ingenuity and innovation for an American energy revolution that has changed the United States’ from energy dependence to energy self-sufficiency and greater freedom – with job creation, domestic economic growth and wider prosperity, particularly in smaller communities across the country.
U.S. energy exports can help boost American leadership in the world:
“Our model matters now, frankly, more than ever in an era of great power rivalry and competition where some nations are using their energy for malign ends, and not to promote prosperity in the way we do here in the West. They don’t have the values of freedom and liberty, of the rule of law that we do, and they’re using their energy to destroy ours.”
We’ve often talked about the benefits of U.S. energy shared with global partners, with U.S. LNG exports reaching markets in Asia and Europe, with the potential to change lives in parts of the world where people live in relative energy poverty – without reliable electricity generation or power for cooking and heating homes.
Yet, as Pompeo noted, the benefits of U.S. energy haven’t occurred on their own. Technology, innovation and entrepreneurship have played major roles in transforming the U.S. into an energy powerhouse. To sustain and increase the energy revolution, we need increased access to domestic energy reserves – especially offshore – and sound regulatory policy that supports new development. Also, it's very important that our country takes smart approaches on trade that help open new markets to U.S. energy exports, which in turn can help stimulate production.
All are key to fully harnessing the benefits of abundant natural gas and oil, here at home and around the world.
About The Author
Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Previously, Mark was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor at an assortment of newspapers. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela have two grown children and six grandchildren.