Deloitte report questions energy independence idea's relevance

US policymakers should consider whether a dramatically improved US oil and gas supply outlook has made energy independence an obsolete goal, a recent Deloitte energy report argued. Transportation is the only major energy consuming sector that still relies on imports, it said.

“The revolution in shale energy production highlights what the energy industry has long known: The United States still has major, untapped domestic sources of oil,” noted the report by Branko Terzik, executive director of Deloitte’s Center for Energy Solutions and a former member of the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

“Technologies such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, when applied around the world, may herald the introduction of new countries as oil suppliers, and increase potential supplies from existing friendly sources,” it said.

The Oct. 15 report contends that the US needs to lower its crude oil demand by continuing to improve its motor vehicles’ fuel efficiency. It said that policymakers can hasten demand reduction with more ride-sharing, high-efficiency mass transit, and electric vehicle fleet expansion. More use of natural gas, methanol, and ethanol as transportation fuels also would help, it indicated.

Its recommendations included opening more domestic onshore and offshore areas for oil and gas exploration, supporting North American allies’ oil and gas resource development efforts, backing government efforts to increase fuel efficiency in all forms, and continuing government support for development of alternatives—principally wind and solar power.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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