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Data: Energy Information Administration; Chart: Cambridge Calculations, courtesy of Karl Schamotta

After we published our story last week on the booming prospects for American oil exploration in the next decade, Anas Alhajji, an oil industry adviser and longtime investor, directed Axios to an op-ed he'd written for the Financial Times arguing the converse.

Why it matters: Alhajji asserts that demand is growing substantially for heavy crude while supply is growing substantially for light crude from U.S. shale, creating a mismatch of supply and demand. The imbalance will choke off the growth of shale and the broader market, leading to an "energy crisis."

  • "We have two problems here," Alhajji tells Axios in a phone conversation. "If you look at U.S. shale forecasts, where will all this light, sweet crude go? We don’t have enough refining capacity worldwide to handle it."
  • "Secondly, we have a mismatch between the quality of oil produced and the products we get out of it."

What's happening: The demand for heavy crude is coming from diesel, Alhajji argues, as emerging countries grow their economies and need more fuel for trucks and heavy machinery. That demand will continue to grow. Further, he says, refiners in these countries (and in the U.S.) have invested heavily in refineries that use heavy crude.

What's also growing is U.S. shale production, which is expected to eclipse Russia in the next 5 years. But the demand for specialty products made from light crude such as plastics, including straws and bags, is falling. That will keep the demand for shale from keeping pace with the supply, Alhajji says.

  • "Price differentials are going to explode as international prices jump while shale oil prices fall to a price where producers can barely survive."

Go deeper

Too big to cover alone: Newsrooms team up

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

News outlets are increasingly willing to work together on big, multifaceted stories — including this week's reporting on leaked documents from a Facebook whistleblower.

Why it matters: Collaborative efforts help bring more resources to bear on complex stories, some of which require a global reporting effort. But they require high degrees of coordination, and competition can sometimes get in the way.

Axios-Ipsos poll: Confidence in Biden COVID recovery tumbles

Expand chart
Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Confidence in President Biden's ability to rescue the economy from COVID-19 has dropped since January, even as Americans' faith rises in his ability to make the vaccine widely accessible, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: It's Democrats and independents driving the declining economic confidence, from 52% of all U.S. adults at the start of his presidency to 44% now. Their softening faith could hinder Biden's ability to lead and hurt Democrats' position heading into the 2022 midterms.

Attacks rise on houses of worship

Woven Stars of David hang along the fence at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on the 1st anniversary of a mass shooting at the synagogue. Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Houses of worship — across a variety of faiths, including Jewish synagogues to Buddhist temples and Catholic churches — are experiencing high amounts of vandalism, arson and other property damage.

The big picture: 2021 is on track to be a record year for hate crimes in the U.S., and many of those attacks are linked to religious bigotry.

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