During the past few years, it has become fashionable to say that the US has, in fact, become energy independent, even though it is not true. And, doubling down on this concept, there came the idea of “energy dominance,” introduced by the Trump administration in June 2017. It is now used at all levels in the press and in the political debate.
Shale oil, which the Energy Information Administration projects will represent a rising proportion of American oil supplies in the coming decades, has a surprising Achilles heel: its low octane levels, which make it a poor fit for the high-efficiency car engines of the future.
The gradual climb in oil prices in recent weeks has revived hopes that US shale oil producers will return to profitability, while also renewing fevered dreams of the US becoming a fossil fuel superpower once again. Helen Thompson looks at the same shale oil revolution and draws strikingly different conclusions, both about the future of the oil economy and about the effects on US relations with OPEC, Saudi Arabia, and Russia.
The EIA has once again undercut its previous estimates for U.S. oil production, offering further evidence that the U.S. shale industry is not producing as much as everyone thinks.
According to EIA data, monthly US crude oil production peaked in April 2015 at 9.6 mb/d.
The mainstream press has faithfully repeated every press and PR statement made by the shale producers.
Unnoticed by the mainstream media, US shale oil covers up a recent decline of crude oil production of 1.5 mb/d in the rest of world (using data up to Oct 2013).