September 17, 2019

New Op-ed: Saudi Oil Attacks Underscore Need for U.S. Energy Dominance

Saudi Oil Attacks Underscore Need for U.S. Energy Dominance

Originally published by RealClearPolitics

The attack on Saudi oil facilities this past weekend is a stark reminder of the importance of pursuing U.S. energy dominance and should provide a keen wake-up call to 2020 Democratic presidential candidates determined to ban U.S. fossil-fuel production.

The loss of nearly 6% of global oil output over the weekend sent oil prices soaring around the world, though the impact on the U.S. will be minimal. As the world’s largest crude producer and among the top exporters of oil and gas, the U.S. has the capability to raise output at home to offset supply chain disruptions in the Middle East.

This is not a fluke. The Trump administration has focused on building America’s oil and gas infrastructure through pipeline approvals and streamlined permitting processes. The administration has unleashed drilling on public lands and offshore, and has encouraged fracking in states like Pennsylvania. The U.S. now is exporting its oil supply to 36 countries on five continents and has topped Russia as the world’s largest natural gas producer.

“Today we're about a net 5 million barrels of oil exported a day out of the United States,” Energy Secretary Rick Perry explained to CNBC on Monday. “There's actually a silver lining, if you will, to the [Saudi oil field attacks] in the sense that had this happened five years ago, it could have absolutely brought the global economy to its knees. Today we're concerned about it, we need to address it, but it's not anywhere near as devastating as what it would have been, let's say, five years ago.”

Yet, the 2020 Democratic hopefuls would like to take us back to the day where the U.S., along with the rest of the world, would’ve been at the mercy of the Middle East’s oil supply.

Front-runner Joe Biden wants to restrict drilling on public lands and said there wouldn’t be any place in his administration for fossil fuels, including coal and fracking – he said he would end federal subsidies and place pressure on local leaders to ban fracking. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg have all called for an outright ban on fracking.

In an effort to achieve a Green New Deal, these Democratic candidates are willing to threaten U.S. energy security and millions of American jobs and prosperity.

Hydraulic fracking is one of the reasons why America is the number one energy producer in the world. Instead of relying on foreign countries, under the Trump administration we are now relying on American producers and workers. A ban on fracking would kill 14.8 million jobs by 2022 and could have killed 3.9 million jobs in 2017 alone, according to U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber found such a ban would increase out-of-pocket living expenses for Americans by an average of $4,000 annually due to higher prices on energy and consumer products, costing households more than $873 billion in income.

Banning fracking would “have major implications on the market for the U.S. economy, for jobs growth and everything, and not good news for energy security, because, for example, U.S. natural gas provides a lot of security to the markets,” Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, told CNBC earlier this month.

He continued: “Up to recently, before the U.S. shale gas revolution, Russia was the country which was dominating alone the gas markets. With the U.S. coming into the picture, there is a choice, there are options for the consumers, better for energy security, for diversification.”

Under the Trump administration, the U.S. is exporting more of its energy resources around the world. Crude oil exports nearly doubled last year, reaching a record average of 2 million barrels a day; coal exports reached their highest level in five years; and the European Union has agreed to import more liquified natural gas, lessening its dependence on Russia.

Why would we want to turn back time, as these 2020 Democratic hopefuls suggest, when the golden era of U.S. energy production is now underway?

The attacks on the Saudi oil fields serve as a reminder of how important it is for the U.S. to have policies that unleash its energy production, not restrain it. We should never be at the mercy of foreign powers, when we have the resources, technology and manpower to be energy dominant.

Kelly Sadler is the communications director at America First Policies. She was formerly a special assistant to the president in the Trump administration.


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