Not the Energy Boom the Administration Expected
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Energy happens to be one of the bright spots of the economy. Thank hydraulic fracturing for allowing energy companies to tap into America’s vast shale reserves and create jobs. Bloomberg reports:
Natural gas production increased to 24.2 trillion cubic feet in 2011 from 21.1 trillion in 2008. The increase pushed prices down to their lowest level in a decade. While lower prices could slow its growth, fracking also helped create an industrial renaissance, boosting the steelmakers that supply the well parts, chemical companies that use ethane, a liquid found with gas, and other energy-intensive manufacturers.
Oil production is also rising from under 5 million barrels per day in 2008 to almost 6.2 million barrels this year, helping reduce imports to 42 percent of U.S. consumption.
This shale energy boom is taking place despite the administration’s efforts. Oil and natural gas production from 2010 to 2011 decreased on federal lands, while the energy gains came from production on state and private lands.
The federal government has been looking for openings to more tightly-regulate this hydraulic fracturing. Earlier this year, EPA tried to frighten people by claiming that that type of extraction would poison groundwater only to back away. Now, the Department of Transportation is reinterpreting a rule to specifically target truck drivers that serve oil and gas rigs.
Ironically, four years ago, the new administration talked about energy as an important job creator. They were right, but I’m sure they didn’t expect it to be due to oil and natural gas from shale.