Domestic natural gas supplies will replace our need for foreign oil. Independent studies continue to show that America's natural gas reserves are sufficient to meet all of our needs for well over 100 years.
We should protect America's interests by making a national commitment to replacing our need for foreign oil by using our enormous natural gas supplies for every possible use - power, transportation, chemicals, pharma, etc.
Over the past few days there have been contradictory reports regarding the global demand for crude oil and the ability (or willingness) of the world's oil producing countries to supply the stuff.
- The International Energy Agency predicted the world's capacity to produce crude oil will fall by 1.7 million barrels a day this year.
- That same day reports surfaced saying that China, the world's second-largest consumer of energy, had announced it had increased its imports of crude oil by 14 percent in April. China has already entered into supply deals with Brazil, Venezuela, Russia, Iran and is negotiating with Kuwait.
- Reuters reported "global oil refinery throughput will fall 3.1 million barrels per day in the April-June period from the same quarter last year" which has been reflected by dramatically higher prices at the pump. According to Consumer Reports, prices for regular gas jumped from $2.05 to $2.24 before the summer driving season has even begun - a nine percent increase in just two weeks.
- Then the IEA predicted world crude demand this year is expected to contract by 2.6 million barrels a day, or 3%, to 83.2 million barrels a day.
Through the week oil prices bounced between just over $60 per barrel to about $57 per barrel.
Why the relatively narrow trading range? Traders know that both the production and consumption numbers are artificial.
OPEC has had a $75 price target in mind for several months. OPEC nations are wholly dependent on petro-dollars to fund their national budgets and they must find the proper balance between price and production to generate enough money to keep their populations happy.
On the consumption side, China has the capacity and the inclination to engineer its oil requirements because so little of its economy is market-driven.
Through it all, America continues to import more than two-thirds of our oil needs which puts us at the mercy of the Middle East oil producers, China, and other countries which do not have the interests of the United States in their hearts. In April, we imported 375 million barrels of petroleum at a cost of just under $19 billion.
Last week Hugo Chavez sent troops to take over Venezuela's oil service companies because he felt that the state-controlled oil company (which he nationalized a couple of years ago) owed them too much money.
There is no reason for America's national interests - our economy, our environment, nor our security - to be based upon a global oil supply-and-usage regime which is based upon an international set of artificially-controlled factors.
This past week, a report in Russia, according to the London Times, "raised the prospect of war in the Arctic as nations struggle for control of the world's dwindling energy reserves." The report suggested that Russia "is willing to defend its interests by force if necessary."
Russia, just a few months ago, used its natural gas production and distribution system to force its will on Ukraine by shutting off gas supplies to much of Europe during the coldest months of the European winter.
It is not hard to imagine other countries, if they get into domestic trouble because they can't cover their internal social costs, to further manipulate supplies and distribution of crude to artificially affect prices.
The United States has it in its power and within its borders to effectively defend itself against the whims of foreign governments by taking serious steps to increase the utilization of domestic natural gas.
Natural gas is our most widely distributed natural resource - gas lines run up every street and down every alley in almost every city and town in the nation. As a transportation fuel, natural gas is ready-to-go. There are nearly 10 million natural gas vehicles (NGVs) operating throughout the world but fewer than 150,000 are here in the United States.
Our energy future is in our own hands. In natural gas we have an enormously abundant domestic resource; we have the technology to utilize it for power, transportation and every other known use; it is cheaper than imported oil; it is cleaner than either gasoline or diesel fuel; and, it is under our own control.
Spending time worrying over global oil maneuvers by foreign governments is a waste of time and money. We should have a national project to use domestic natural gas and reduce our imports of foreign oil.