[Marxism] Fracking and geopolitical sea change

Anthony Boynton anthony.boynton at gmail.com
Mon Jan 29 09:16:13 MST 2018

The NYT article below is a good general description of the sea change in
world energy markets that fracking in the USA has caused. That sea change
underlies a great deal of the geopolitical chaos and upheaval going on
which the Times only touches superficially from the point of view of US
imperialism. What this article flatly lies about is the role of the Obama
administration which made the change in fracking possible and quietly
helped it happen.

The new oil and natural gas dominance of the United States, and the
radically changed shape of the Hubbert curve for oil and gas due to
fracking, also underlies much of the disarray of the US ruling class
including the chance that Trump will survive in office. Remember Clinton’s
slogan, “It’s the economy stupid”.


*Oil Boom Gives the U.S. a New Edge in Energy and Diplomacy*

New York Times by Clifford Krauss Jan. 28, 2018

HOUSTON — A substantial rise in oil prices in recent months has led to a
resurgence in American oil production, enabling the country to challenge
the dominance of Saudi Arabia and dampen price pressures at the pump.

The success has come in the face of efforts by Saudi Arabia and its oil
allies to undercut the shale drilling spree in the United States. Those
strategies backfired and ultimately ended up benefiting the oil industry.

Overcoming three years of slumping prices proved the resiliency of the
shale boom. Energy companies and their financial backers were able to
weather market turmoil — and the maneuvers of the global oil cartel — by
adjusting exploration and extraction techniques.

After a painful shakeout in the industry that included scores of
bankruptcies and a significant loss of jobs, a steadier shale-drilling
industry is arising, anchored by better-financed companies.

With the price of West Texas intermediate crude above $65 a barrel, a level
not seen in almost three years, the United States is becoming a dominant
producer. It is able to outflank competitors in supplying growing global
markets, particularly China and India, while slashing imports from the
Middle East and North Africa.

This year, the United States is expected to surpass Saudi Arabia and to
rival Russia as the world’s leader, with record output of over 10 million
barrels a day, according to the International Energy Agency.

“This is a 180-degree turn for the United States and the impacts are being
felt around the world,” said Daniel Yergin, the economic historian and
author of “The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power.” “This not
only contributes to U.S. energy security but also contributes to world
energy security by bringing new supplies to the world.”

Forecasts show that the United States could surpass Saudi Arabia as an oil
producer this year, with output exceeding 10 million barrels a day.

At the same time, the United States is becoming a major exporter of natural
gas, another outgrowth of the shale revolution, undercutting Russian energy
dominance over Eastern Europe.

The improving energy picture comes as the Trump administration is
attempting to increase offshore drilling and loosen other regulations on
fossil fuel development. But just as the surge in oil and gas production in
shale fields during the Barack Obama administration had little to do with
Washington, the current rise is the result of private companies responding
to global markets.

Read the complete article here


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