Legal Insurrection readers might recall when a certain former President said, “We can’t drill our way to lower gas prices.”

Well, it turns out that the Trump administration has transformed the United States into a net oil producer, as it is now exporting more oil than it imports for the first time in 75 years.

The US exported more petroleum than it imported for the first time in decades last week, marking an astonishing if momentary reversal from its longtime status as the world’s largest oil importer.

Net exports of crude oil and petroleum products from the country totalled 211,000 barrels per day in the week ended November 30, the Energy Information Administration said in a report on Thursday. As recently as 2005, US net oil imports averaged more than 12.5m b/d.

The rise of shale oil production, the end of prohibitions on crude oil exports and investments in advanced oil refining capacity have reduced US crude oil imports and also enabled the country to re-export millions of barrels of fuels such as petrol and diesel, some of it processed from imported oil.

The United States has been a net oil importer since 1949 based on statistics from the American Petroleum Institute.

The use of oil-rich shale resources has been a critical factor in this development, and more expansion may be on the horizon.

“We are becoming the dominant energy power in the world,” said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research. “But, because the change is gradual over time, I don’t think it’s going to cause a huge revolution, but you do have to think that OPEC is going to have to take that into account when they think about cutting.”

…U.S. crude exports are poised to rise even further, with new pipelines from the Permian in the works and at least nine terminals planned that will be capable of loading supertankers. The only facility currently able to load the largest ships, the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, is on pace to load more oil in December than it has in any other month.

The massive Permian may be even bigger than previously thought. The Delaware Basin, the less drilled part of the field, holds more than twice the amount of crude as its sister, the Midland Basin, the U.S. Geological Service said Thursday.

Though the import/export ratio is anticipated to fluctuate for some time, the Trump administration is working diligently to keep the success going. For example, it has targeted two Obama-era environmental policies.

In order to boost both the oil and coal industries, the Trump administration proposes opening up a bird’s wildlife habitat to drilling and mining, as well as removing hurdles to new coal-fired power plant construction.

…The U.S. Interior Department proposed easing Obama-era protections for a bird, the greater sage-grouse, to boost oil drilling and mining across Western states, potentially opening up hundreds of thousands of acres of grouse habitat in states like Colorado and Utah to oil and gas leasing.

Announced by Interior Department Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt, a Colorado native and a former energy lobbyist, the proposal would allow for changes to habitat boundary maps of the chicken-sized prairie fowl—considered by conservationists to be a key indicator species for America’s dwindling sagebrush ecosystem.

How successful has the new approach been? I will let this data point speak for itself.


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