Sunday, September 8, 2013

Saudi America

The American energy landscape has gotten decidedly better over the past five years.  Consider the following US energy facts:

1)  US oil production average 7.62 million barrels at the end of August.  This is the highest level since October 1989 (24 years ago) and most of the increase has come over the past 2-3 years.  For those not familiar, the US was in terminal decline since 1973 but this changed around 2008.  Since then oil production has gone up in a parabolic curve.  So much for peak oil...

2)  Since last November the US has been the #1 petroleum producer in the world, surpassing Saudi Arabia (#2). 

3)  The US now produces 90% of its energy consumption, up from around 70% back in 2005-2006.  The last time the US was this "energy self-sufficient" was back in September 1987, almost 26 years ago. 

Source: EIA

It was only a few years ago it appeared that the US would never reach energy self-sufficiency but with the unlocking of shale oil and gas reserves, that appears to have changed. 

The only remaining question is what is why are oil prices so stubbornly high and natural gas prices so low?  On an energy basis natural gas is 82% cheaper than oil.  Oil is not as scarce as it once was.  This gap will close, it simply has to, but the question is will natural gas prices rise or will oil prices fall?  I would bet on a combination of both. 

Best Regards,