About that War on Energy

By Keith Kloor | October 3, 2013 2:24 pm

If you thought that the U.S. government shutdown was the top story at the Wall Street Journal today (print edition), you would be wrong. Instead, this headline took the honor:

U.S. Rises to No. 1 Energy Producer

Whoa. This wasn’t supposed to happen until 2017, according to recent projections by the International Energy Agency. But some number crunchers at the WSJ have moved up the schedule:

A Wall Street Journal analysis of global data shows that the U.S. is on track to pass Russia as the world’s largest producer of oil and gas combined this year—if it hasn’t already.

Hang on a sec. I thought there was a war on energy drilling during the President Obama era? Or was that Obama’s war on energy? No, wait, was that Obama’s three-pronged war on energy?

Some people, it seems, have a poor grasp of facts.

Now, as much as climate advocates would like Obama to wage war on fossil fuels, it’s not gonna happen. But that doesn’t mean he won’t try to so something without turning off the oil & gas spigots.

File:Helmerich & Payne Flex Rig drilling the Bakken.jpg

[A war on energy? Not in North Dakota, where this drilling rig sits]


CATEGORIZED UNDER: climate change, Energy, oil & gas, select
  • Buddy199

    As with the “War on Women”, there’s more to it than meets the eye.

    “Report: US oil-and-gas production up despite drop on federal lands”

    The study by the nonpartisan CRS concluded that while overall United States oil-and-gas production has increased since 2007, it has declined considerably on federal lands.

    The CRS report did note that more access to federal lands “may not translate into higher levels of production.”

    It also said long-term U.S. Energy Information Administration projections forecast a rise in federal oil-and-gas production, though its share of the U.S. mix would still decline relative to more rapid development in private and state areas.

    “A more efficient permitting process may be an added incentive for the industry to invest in developing federal resources, which may allow for some oil and gas to come on-stream sooner, but in general, the regulatory framework for developing resources on federal lands will likely remain more involved and time-consuming than that on private land,” the report said.


    • jh

      In other words, there still is an Obama Admin war on oil and gas, but the Obama Admin can’t do much about what happens on private / state land, so it’s not a very effective war.

      Meanwhile, where’s Peak Oil? (gloat gloat gloat).

      • Ram

        The largest producers of conventional oil are surpassed by the US, thanks to fracking, and you ask where is Peak Oil?

        This is it! Expensive oil is what we have left.

        I bet that there will be a lot of more oil at the 200$ a barrel price…

        • jh

          Nice try on switching “peak” and “expensive”. Sorry, though, no go. Peak is a physical reality, “expensive” is relative and therefore meaningless.

          Oil prices have risen on average 1.65% annually in three decades. (2009 dollars, eg. after inflation). Current supply excesses are holding prices flat and would be driving them down without geopolitical tension in the Middle East.

          In other words, without ObamaWar, we’d be right back in the golden age.

          losing sucks, huh?

          • Ram

            I do not care about Obama, because I am not even American. And politicizing geological issues is hardly a sensible idea.

            I do not lose, because this is not a table game, it is a *physical reality*. The planet is finite, every mineral resource is finite, and oil is finite. The point where we reached the maximum production of oil is obviously difficult to predict, because it depends on the human capability to extract ever more elusive oil, but is inevitable.

            Price is part of the issue. If you do not have enough production of oil, the price goes up. At higher prices more expensive methods of production are available, therefore you have access to more oil.

            Eventually prices will be high enough or the remaining resources will be expensive enough that consumption and production falls. A severe economic crisis happens along this path.

            THAT MOMENT is to late to sound the warning bells.
            Sensible people have been warning us about this issue, so we could do something.

            Nothing has been done. You won. Your prize is… (to be seen)

  • JonFrum

    So it’s inconceivable that Obama is leading (or would like to lead) a war on carbon fuels, but he’s losing?

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Keith Kloor

      When you’re inclined to believe something, I suppose anything is conceivable.


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Collide-a-Scape is an archived Discover blog. Keep up with Keith's current work at http://www.keithkloor.com/

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.


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