Kemp: Shale Revolution Reverses Global Energy Flow

Total imports of crude and products shrank to an average of 9.8 million barrels per day in 2013 from a peak of 13.7 million in 2005.

Over the same period, product exports climbed to 3.6 million barrels per day from 1.1 million. Diesel exports doubled, while exports of gasoline, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and petroleum coke all recorded big increases.

Reversed Flows

The big three suppliers of crude to the United States - Canada, Mexico and Saudi Arabia - all maintained their sales volumes, according to a recent briefing paper published by the EIA ("U.S. crude oil imports fall but share of top three suppliers highest in four decades" Apr 4).

But imports from other countries in the Middle East, West Africa and Latin America have been squeezed hard, forcing them to turn to alternative markets in Asia.

And on the products side, the United States has sharply cut gasoline imports from Europe and emerged as a major diesel and LPG supplier to countries in Latin America and further afield.

The North American energy revolution and rapid industrialisation in Asia have effectively reversed the flow of energy round the globe. For most of the 20th century, the primary flow was from East to West. Now the main flow is from West to East.

Secure Supplies

The shale revolution has also shifted the marginal source of supply from the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, where investment and production are tightly controlled by governments, to Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota and other states, where production is driven by the private sector.


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