Can the US become energy-independent?

A new report by the International Energy Association (IEA) has predicted that within the next ten years, the US will be in a position to supply over 90% of its own oil, shedding its long-standing dependence on Saudi Arabia for fuel. This will be great news for US corporations. business gas prices are often impacted by foreign policy decisions, particularly following the Arab Spring, so domestic supply should lead to big savings.

The new stocks of oil will come from ‘unconventional’ sources, including shale gas and shale oil, which will be unearthed through a process known as fracking (blasting apart dense rocks to release the fossil fuels trapped within). Once these sources have been harnessed, the US will become the world’s biggest oil supplier, freed of its dependence on the Middle East to power its homes, businesses and industries.

However, it’s not all good news, as use of the new fuels could lead to a huge increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

The US economy, however, is certain to benefit, with the gas glut driving down the costs of industry and allowing the US to undercut its international competitors, even in the developing world. The UK is unlikely to reap dividends though – with the difficulty in importing gas considered, it’s probable that we will remain dependent on oil imports from elsewhere, which is why now is the perfect time to invest in research into renewable energy sources.

To remain competitive, we will have to exploit our potential for energy efficiency and clean energy. With the majority of subsidies currently being ploughed into supporting fossil fuels, this new IEA report may go some way to changing attitudes towards the importance of renewables in the energy security of the UK.


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