US energy security improved for a sixth consecutive year in 2017 and neared a modern-day best, the US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute (GEI) reported as it released its 2018 Index of US Energy Security Risk. In 2017, the most recent year of actual available data, the risk score fell to 77.5, the lowest score since 1995, and just a few points from the best-ever score of 75 in 1992, it said on Jan. 31.
“The good news continues for our nation’s energy security,” GEI Pres. Karen A. Harbert said. “Our index captures just how astounding the impact of America’s energy revolution has been in such a short amount of time.”
As more oil and gas is produced domestically, the US relies less on other countries for its energy, improving security and creating economic opportunities across the country, Harbert said. “We expect the future to be even brighter,” she said.
The index employs 37 different energy security metrics measuring geopolitical, economic, reliability, and environmental risks. A lower index score indicates a lower level of risk. Harbert said the ninth annual edition of the index covers 1970-2040 and incorporates the latest historical data and forecast models.
Energy security was at its most precarious in 2011, when geopolitical turmoil threatened supplies and US production had not grown fully due to hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technologies, which made previously inaccessible oil and gas supplies producible, Harbert said. Since then, US energy security risk scores have fallen 24 points, led by rapid decreases related to lower levels of imports as US production climbed, she said.
“Notably, results related to energy efficiency and the environment all improved. For efficiency metrics, lower scores were driven by improvements in the average vehicle mile per gallon rating as well as energy use intensity—the amount of energy it takes to produce a dollar of gross domestic product,” Harbert said. Crude oil prices were one metric that increased 22% year-to-year in 2017, but this was due exclusively to growth from the previous year when crude prices were very low, she added.
Harbert said the US Energy Security Risk Index could hit its record low risk score as soon as next year, with even further improvements projected into the future. “Since the US no longer imports natural gas, the gas imports metric became the first one to hit zero risk in this year’s index,” she said. “It’s likely that metrics related to oil and gas import expenditures will also achieve the same milestone in the next few years because of a decline in imports as a result of domestic production.”
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