On the road in Texas, where oil is king again
The increase in US oil and gas production buys some time in terms of resource scarcity and depletion concerns, Warren writes. The windfall also brings with it time to wisely reflect about what America’s energy landscape should look like for the generations that follow.
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Increased U.S. production of crude oil is helping along the margins in the global energy market in an economic sense. However, the oil counterpart is a larger part of global interdependence in oil markets. The U.S. now becomes a more notable part of the competitive landscape for oil supply versus a price taker-only as dictated by investment, or a lack there of, or political instability in the Middle East or other OPEC nations.Skip to next paragraph
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The Energy Information Agency says that to meet global oil demand today “requires about one-half of the world’s supplies to be traded internationally, while about one-fourth of global natural gas supplies are traded internationally.” The energy body expects U.S. oil demand to continue falling, natural gas production to keep rising, and North America to likely transition to a net energy exporter by 2025.
Through the Aquifer
After Odessa, heading toward Pecos, Texas on a stretch of Highway 17, trucks were zooming by on Sunday even. There were signs that said “FRESHWATER” along the way and other signs with what looked like pit-lined sites of water needed for drilling. Firms with tiny storefronts like “H2Oil” were peppered here and there—wastewater disposal services. There were numerous signs with “Water for Sale”. (One wondered if the seller in fact owned the water rights and if the supply was being managed.) This stretch of the road sits atop the major Pecos Valley aquifer, where the greened, desertscapes were a surprising site, if one had ever travelled through New Mexico, Southern Colorado and other parts of the more parched lands of the West and Southwest. Water recycling and reuse of the many hundreds of thousands of gallons of water is gaining traction among producers, for reasons of economics. But the environmental and social justifications for doing so outweighs even economic arguments, especially in water-stressed regions.
The U.S. oil boom is welcome to workers left unemployed from construction’s contraction post-Great Recession and in other industries. States’ coffers are being refilled from the holes left by recession. Meanwhile, Texas and North Dakota were the two main growth-economy stories over the last few years, with GDP growth in 2012 of 4.8% and 13.4%, respectively.
The increase in U.S. oil and gas production buys some time in terms of resource scarcity and depletion concerns. Importantly, this windfall brings with it time to wisely reflect about what America’s energy landscape should look like for the generations that follow. In a twist of Texas irony, adjacent the Permian lands, was an endless stretch of wind turbines—provenance Sweetwater, Texas’ Nolan County—boasting more than 1,300 wind turbines and many more heading West.
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