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World has changed, what didn’t happen

Everything is relative. Today was a big day. I walked a half mile without my walker. I still have my knee immobilizers on. For a guy who was been running half marathons, walking a half mile shouldn’t be a big deal. For a guy who was in a wheelchair three weeks ago it was huge. My success is the result of my doctors, nurses, physical therapists, my wife and many others who helped to make it possible. They all know my goals. It is a team effort.

The United States killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Iraq last week. Iran then fired missiles at US targets in Iraq. What did not happen fortunately was a war. We also didn’t experience an increase in gasoline prices. My local gasoline station stayed at $2.59 per gallon where it has been for weeks. Today the price actually dropped to $2.56 per gallon.

This isn’t the first incident in the Middle East this year. An oil tanker was attacked in the Persian Gulf, the Saudi oil fields were attacked by drones. These are the ones I remember. Through it all our gasoline prices haven’t changed much. Young people and folks with short memories might think this is normal. Those of us that can remember the Arab Oil Embargo of the 1970s, the natural gas shortages of the 1980s and the Energy Crisis of the 1990s and early 2000s remember $3.50 gasoline and jumps in gasoline prices with every Middle East war or threat of war. Gulf Coast Hurricanes also jumped gasoline prices. After Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005 our local gasoline increased $0.25 per gallon literally overnight.

The reason for all of the price volatility was simple. The USA was importing over 60 percent of its oil by 2005. World oil prices were determined by OPEC. When the OPEC oil ministers had a meeting, the usual result was increased gasoline prices for US consumers. In the USA, we call this price fixing. It is illegal under our antitrust laws. OPEC isn’t bound by US antitrust laws.

The world has changed. Thanks to the US Shale Revolution the USA is now the leading natural gas producer and leading oil producer in the world. Instead of importing 60 percent of our oil we are now an oil exporter. Who would have thought this was possible in 2005? Our region, the Shale Crescent USA if it were a country, would be the number 3 natural gas producer in the world. Only the rest of the USA without us and Russia are the only nations that produce more natural gas. Because of this US consumers have saved over $1.1 trillion in the past 10 years because of lower natural gas prices. You can see the full study on the Shale Crescent USA website. Based on government data and a Consumer Energy Alliance report, in the last 10 years pollution in the USA is also down. The USA is the ONLY major country that is on target to meet the Paris Climate agreement.

We no longer need oil from the Middle East. Much of our gasoline comes from refineries that use the natural gas liquids from wells in the Shale Crescent USA. During Hurricane Harvey, our local gasoline price actually went down. It didn’t matter that Gulf Coast ports were shut down like in previous hurricanes. Our crude oil supplies are in the continental USA. This is also important for manufacturing and consumer products. Oil and natural gas are more than transportation and electricity fuels. They are the feed stocks for petrochemicals that produce the thousands of products we use every day.

Global politics has changed because we are no longer dependent on the Middle East for our oil. We are in a much stronger position. Our military runs on petroleum. Imagine if we were dependent on Russian or Iranian oil for our military. World oil prices are currently $65 per barrel compared to $100+ before the Shale Revolution. It was increased US oil production that has driven down world oil prices.

Today we have organizations and even politicians telling us we need to keep our fossil fuels in the ground. (Whose side are they on?) Basic engineering principals and a little common sense tell us we can’t fully replace fossil fuels like oil and natural gas with renewables. We like electricity 24 hours a day and we need petrochemicals to manufacture and transport windmills and solar panels. Our military can’t wait on sunshine to operate.

The reason the USA was able to become the leading natural gas and oil producer in the world was our new horizontal drilling technology coupled to the old technology of hydraulic fracturing. It was a team effort in the oil and gas industry. Not that different than my injury.

My doctors tell me that eventually I will be able to do all of the activities I could do before the injury. Just because a can do all those activities doesn’t mean that I should do all of them. My days of competitive soccer are probably over. I need to remember what caused my problem and act accordingly to avoid future problems. I do not want to return to the wheel chair or walker. As Americans, we need to remember what caused our energy crises to avoid repeating them. Most Americans don’t want to return to the days of $4+ gasoline and foreign powers controlling our economy and our freedom. From our Shale Crescent USA meetings, we know companies in Asia are envious of our abundant affordable energy. We need to use it to bring high wage jobs here.

Thoughts to ponder.

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Greg Kozera, gkozera@shalecrescentusa.com is the Director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. He is a professional engineer with a Masters in Environmental Engineering who has over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert and the author of four books and numerous published articles.

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