How Does Energy Security Protect America?
What is energy security?
Energy security is defined as the uninterrupted availability of energy sources at an affordable price. For the United States and most other countries, energy security is both a national security and foreign policy issue.
Most often, energy security is seen as not being beholden to or reliant upon a foreign entity for either one’s energy supply or critical components of their energy supply.
How has America improved its energy security? How does it protect America?
Thanks to advancements in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, the United States significantly increased its production of oil and natural gas. This renaissance in American energy production – which started in the mid-2000s and continues to this day – has been termed the ‘Shale Revolution.’ Since 2002, America has seen a 95 percent increase in crude oil production, and an 80 percent increase in natural gas production.
This dramatic increase in production made the United States the world’s largest oil and natural gas producer, allowing it to not only meet global energy demands, but affect global oil prices as well. The Shale Revolution also brought with it a boost in employment, with the oil and gas industry representing 9.8 million jobs.
As the United States became a leading producer of oil and gas, it diversified the global supply of energy away from other major global oil producers, namely OPEC+ countries, and lessened their ability to artificially inflate prices by trimming output. This increased domestic supply allows the United States to keep energy sources flowing at home and to its allies should it need to place sanctions on oil exports from hostile nations like Iran, Venezuela, and Russia.
In other words, by having not just a stable supply of energy production for domestic needs, but enough energy supply to meet the needs of our trade partners, foreign threats cannot weaponize their energy supply against the United States.
How is Texas oil and gas production tied to American energy security?
For the past decade, Texas has led the Shale Revolution, delivering an abundant supply of oil and gas to the United States. Much of U.S. oil and gas production today originates from the prolific Permian Basin in West Texas. In fact, Texas produces nearly a quarter of America’s natural gas, and almost half of America’s oil.
Along the Texas and Louisiana coast, liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals line the shore. These export terminals are critical components of America’s energy infrastructure and enable the United States to deliver the oil and gas produced in its shale basins to the rest of the globe. Prior to 2015, U.S. exports of LNG was near zero. Over the past decade, the United States has heavily invested in the development of its LNG facilities, which enabled America – and Texas – to rise and meet the call of Europe’s natural gas needs in the face of Russian aggression.
How do we continue to fortify American energy security?
To ensure our energy remains secure, protecting and improving the resiliency of the energy sector is an ongoing effort and dependent on public-private partnerships for information sharing, cybersecurity, and planning.
However, those are only pieces of the puzzle. Policymakers must continue to support domestic oil and gas production, as demand is only set to rise in the future. In its 2022 annual energy outlook, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that America’s energy consumption would continue to increase through 2050 with petroleum and natural gas representing the larger share of energy consumption for the next 28 years.
Additionally, we must encourage the development of critical energy infrastructure, which can include expediting permits for U.S. LNG export facilities and pipeline infrastructure. Further, a more stable regulatory environment provides certainty to producers and investors, which encourages continued investment and growth.
World energy demand is rising. The EIA projects that global energy demand could rise 50 percent by 2050, with natural gas and oil remaining a foundational part of the energy mix. America, and Texas, must be ready to meet world energy demand, not only to fuel economic growth, but to protect the sovereignty of our allies and trade partners.