The U.S. energy boom has grown far more than ever expected, allowing us to surpass both Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s leading producer of oil and natural gas. And now that the ban on crude oil exports has been repealed and the first shipment of oil has arrived in Europe, Americans will hopefully begin to see the many benefits of U.S. participation in the new global market.
In a recent Fuel Fix article, Brigham McCown, former senior official at the U.S. Department of Transportation, argues that it’s imperative for the U.S. to “take full advantage” of our new leading role in global energy. “The potential for advancements abroad as a result of stable energy supply to our allies is undoubtedly impressive. But it is the economic growth here at home that will be felt the most by consumers,” McCown said. Many studies, including the Aspen Institute, forecast that the American economy will grow and job numbers will increase due to the ban lift. Most notably, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office states that crude exports will generate $1.4 billion for the economy.
Crude oil exports will also help spur investment along the Gulf Coast as companies prepare to take full advantage of foreign buyers as they begin to realize the benefits of a stable source of energy. A new report by Wood Mackenzie Ltd found that low oil prices have delayed $380 billion worth of investment on 68 major upstream projects. But access to global markets can change that. Some experts have even predicted that “in the longer term, Latin America and Asia could become natural markets” especially as a massive expansion of the Panama Canal becomes complete (The Wall Street Journal, “U.S. Exports First Freely Traded Oil in 40 Years,” by Alison Sider).
In the long term, the benefits of crude oil exports are countless. But as the first shipment of American oil finally reaches its European destination, other energy-producing, unstable countries cast a wary eye on Uncle Sam’s new gift.