Is the American dream of energy independence dead?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Low oil prices since mid-2014 have claimed many victims in the oil industry with oil workers' jobs lost, rigs closed and exploration projects shelved. And no more so than in the U.S., a country which had hoped that its shale oil and gas "revolution" could lead to U.S. energy independence by 2020.

Things have changed dramatically in global oil markets since the shale oil boom around 2010, however, making those expectations more dream than reality for now.

"I don't know if it's physically possible for us to ever get to a point where we don't need to import certain types of crude," Suzanne Minter, Oil & Natural Gas analyst at Platts Analytics, told CNBC.

"You look at our crude imports and it's about quality. We have displaced our light, sweet (crude) imports but the barrels we bring in we need to run through our refineries and to blend with the product we make."

Oil prices having fallen since mid-2014 on a glut in global supply -- caused in no small part by the rise in U.S. oil output which was consumed domestically, reducing the need for crude imports, and the refusal of oil group OPEC to cut production itself -- and failure of demand to keep pace, largely down to an economic slowdown, particularly in China. 

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