Dec 10, 2019

America blows past the world in oil and natural gas

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Data: Oil Change International and the Global Gas and Oil Network, with data from Rystad Energy; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

America is poised to produce far more oil and natural gas over the next five years than any other country in the world, according to a new report.

Why it matters: It shows how America, already the world’s largest oil and gas producer, is poised to cement that position, with pivotal implications for geopolitics and climate change.

By the numbers: The United States could produce just over 24 billion barrels of oil equivalent over the next five years, according to a report by two advocacy groups, the Global Gas and Oil Network and Oil Change International, which analyzed projection data from research firm Rystad Energy.

  • This works out to be roughly 13.2 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, a figure that includes both oil and natural gas.
  • For context: The U.S. currently producing about 12 million barrels of oil a day.
  • Much of this growth is coming from the Permian Basin across West Texas and southeastern New Mexico, which the report says would account for nearly 40% of new U.S. oil and gas production in the next 30 years.

How it works: The accompanying chart, adapted from the groups’ report, is looking at projected production over this five-year time period from currently undeveloped reserves. This includes industry data, such as projects expected to receive final investment decisions.

The intrigue: The environmental groups released the report last week at the United Nations climate conference underway in Madrid, Spain.

  • The report concludes that carbon dioxide emissions from oil and gas in currently operating fields would push the world past the temperature rise limit — 1.5 degrees Celsius — that scientists say the world should stay under to avoid the worst impacts of a warming world.
  • “This is true even if global coal use were phased out overnight, and cement emissions were drastically reduced,” the report writes.

The other side: President Trump has often cited America’s plentiful oil and gas resources as evidence of the U.S.’s power in geopolitical debates, and he is likely to do so even more as production increases (if he wins a second term).

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