Agnia Grigas of the Atlantic Council celebrated a shipment from the United States of liquefied natural gas to Ukraine. This was the first of many shipments as the United States opens another foreign market.
Consider the deal another of the economic sanctions on Russia. The Trump administration is challenging Russia’s monopoly on hydrocarbon energy in the region.
This was made possible by the late George Phydias Mitchell, the Texas wildcatter who was the godfather of fracking. Two decades ago, he bet his all on finding a way to use high pressure water to unlock and extract oil and natural gas from miles underground.
He ignited a revolution that turned North Dakota into a producer of a million barrels of oil a day. Old oil and gas areas in Appalachia and the West began producing again. West Virginia, for example, quintupled its production from 2010 to 2015, hitting 1.2 trillion cubic feet in 2015.
George Mitchell, who died on July 26th, was a one-man refutation of the declinist hypothesis. From the 1970s America’s energy industry reconciled itself to apparently inevitable decline. Analysts produced charts to show that its oil and gas were running out.
The big oil firms globalized in order to survive.
But Mr Mitchell was convinced that immense reserves trapped in shale rock deep beneath the surface could be freed. He spent decades perfecting techniques for unlocking them: injecting high-pressure fluids into the ground to fracture the rock and create pathways for the trapped oil and gas (fracking) and drilling down and then sideways to increase each well’s yield (horizontal drilling).
The result was a revolution
The result was a revolution.
Four years later, the revolution continues. Having halved the price of oil — pushing it below $50 a barrel — fracking now moves on to changing global politics, just as it did the global economy.
From Agnia Grigas:
Trump also raised LNG exports as a potential means to reduce America’s trade deficit with India during his first meeting with Indian prime minister Narendra Modi in June. India is the fourth largest importer of LNG in the world and one whose gas demand is only expected to rise.
Until recently it largely relied on imports from Qatar, though US LNG started making its way to India last year.
Other markets for our hydrocarbons include China, South Korea, Spain, Portugal, and the United Kingdom.
Cheniere launched its inaugural delivery of LNG to Poland in June. During his visit to Poland the following month, Trump reiterated the implications of this delivery: “We are committed to securing your access to alternate sources of energy, so Poland and its neighbors are never held hostage to a single supplier of energy.”
Reagan said tear down this wall.
Trump says let’s make a deal.
More from Grigas:
While reducing Gazprom’s dominance is part of Washington’s long-standing agenda, the Trump administration is the first to explicitly link the trinity of diplomacy, LNG trade, and national economic interests in Europe, Asia, and beyond.
US officials should be wary of implying that Washington’s LNG diplomacy is centered on making America’s friends buy gas to prove their loyalty. It’s already in Washington’s economic interests to support its allies’ energy security. There is no need for America to belabor the point.
The Fracking Revolution is part of the American Revolution, which is based on liberty and allowing people to pursue their dreams. We just saw the previous generation of entrepreneurs create Amazon, Microsoft and Apple to change retail and put information in our hands.
Before that, there was the Green Revolution led by Norman Borlaug that turned a world headed toward starvation into a world that may be a little too well fed.
My pantheon of heroes has few politicians, and plenty of men who made lots of money.
America is the last best hope for the world not because it has a statue on Liberty Island, but because it keeps producing Cornelius Vanderbilts, John Jacob Astors, and Henry Fords.
Our previous president said we cannot drill our way out.
President Trump says yes we can. Oh, yes we can.
Don Surber is a renowned retired newspaperman and columnist of forty years experience living in Poca, West Virginia. In July, he published Trump the Press on Amazon, a look at how the experts got the Republican nomination wrong. It is available on Kindle, and in paperback.
Caution: Readers occasionally may laugh out loud at the media as they read these books. I know I did! Lots.
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