My friend BJ Kraemer at  MCFA passed along this article from blog post from Walter Mead’s blog at the American Interest discussing the prospects that:

“So dramatic are America’s [oil and natural gas] finds, analysts talk of the US turning into the world’s new Saudi Arabia by 2020”

Mead’s post concludes that the recent shale oil and gas finds in North America and the abundance of energy contained in those finds will reshape geopolitics in the 21st Century returning America to its mid-twentieth century zenith of power.  Obviously, Mead’s conclusions are some of the most bullish by far as to the potential for shale oil and gas plays.  However, the statistics in the post are what bolsters my belief – and the beliefs of others – that the future in this country is not green – but brown.

Still skeptical?  Then, consider, according to the post, the  following:

  • “A GAO report released last May (pdf link can be found here) estimates that up to the equivalent of 3 trillion barrels of shale oil may lie in just one of the major potential US energy production sites. If half of this oil is recoverable, US reserves in this one deposit are roughly equal to the known reserves of the rest of the world combined.”
  • “our natural gas reserves are so large that the US is likely to become a major exporter, and US domestic supplies for hydrocarbon fuels of all types appear to be safe and secure for the foreseeable future. North America as a whole has the potential to be a major exporter of fossil fuels for decades and even generations to come.”
  • Since 2008, fracking alone has created nearly 600,000 new jobs in the United States.

Naturally, there continue to be brown energy haters, who believe American will not or should not maximize the potential of its oil and natural gas reserves.  Indeed, a recent article on the investment web page Seeking Alpha that is making its rounds concludes that America only has a few years of proven natural gas left and calls for a short on basically every E&P company’s stock.  Never mind that it was written, not by a geologist, but by a self described “IT professional” who apparently lacks any qualifications (which I define as those sufficient to survive a Daubert motion in federal court)  to make the conclusion reached in the article (although he apparently found of cowboy hats).

The reality is that a preponderance of all reliable evidence shows that there exists a strong probability that the conclusions in Mead’s article are correct.  American oil and natural gas has the potential to reshape the economy like no other industry.  Even the most optimistic studies on the potential for green jobs do not even come close to the job creation estimates in oil and natural gas.  Moreover, even after the largest investment in green jobs in our nation’s history, job growth in “brown” jobs has outpaced green job growth in the last four years almost exponentially.

The impact of oil and natural gas to the construction industry specifically are obviously profound and contractors not already positioning themselves in this niche should figure out how they can operate in this industry fast.  So, I say let’s go all in with oil and natural gas.  I have no problem with America becoming the new Saudi Arabia by 2020, so long as, unlike Saudi Arabia, we still permit woman to drive.


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