The alarming news that some of Saudi Aramco’s oil facilities had been attacked over the weekend has generated new instability in oil markets and caused concern for countries across the globe.
These attacks were serious and deserve careful scrutiny and investigation. They also demonstrate that the market for oil is truly global. This event should be a reminder for policymakers as to the importance of U.S. energy production and the nation’s role as one of the top energy exporters.
Indeed, the United States is now the largest crude oil producer in the world. In fact, the United States is projected to become energy independent by next year after becoming a net oil exporter for the first time in 75 years. As the Wall Street Journal noted:
It also underscores the dramatic change that has occurred in the U.S., which is now the world’s largest crude producer and among the top exporters of oil and gas. For the first time in decades, President Trump would be in the rare position of having the ability to help stabilize the oil market in the event of a prolonged outage. That’s a remarkable turnaround from the 1990s and 2000s when the country had far greater dependency on foreign crude.
While the U.S. still imports significant volumes, including from Saudi Arabia, Mr. Trump could authorize an emergency release of stockpiled crude that could help mitigate price increases, analysts said. The U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve holds more than 600 million barrels of oil. He could also temporarily ease sanctions on Venezuela or Iran or alter trade restrictions that have affected U.S. crude exports.
This is an important economic and geopolitical development for the United States, which relied heavily on foreign nations for generations. Due to the United States’ record oil and gas production, the nation can play a critical role in stabilizing the global market in the event of prolonged outages and in situations like this.
This is also an important reminder that recent proposals to limit American energy development undermine our national security interests and minimize grid reliability while dealing a stronger hand to foreign entities like Iran, Russia, and Venezuela. American policymakers must welcome further investment in our energy capabilities and infrastructure network to bolster our interests at home and abroad.