Alec Krosser: Amount of Natural Gas

How much natural gas in the U.S. is needed for the country to become energy-independent? Many people who endorse hydraulic fracturing use energy independence as a reason for the U.S. to pursue fracking and obtain its own energy. Currently the U.S. is reliant on foreign nations to meet its energy quota. Becoming self-sufficient would not only make the country less dependent on foreign nations, but would also help the economy because domestic gas decreases the cost of natural gas by removing shipping costs and tariffs.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the U.S. is currently dependent on foreign nations for around 40% of its total petroleum consumed, and that number is the lowest since 1991 (13). As seen in Figure 3 below, 55% of imported petroleum comes from Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) nations. Historically, the U.S. does not have great relationships with OPEC nations, yet is forced to spend billions of dollars on importing petroleum from these countries. OPEC nations are not very stable, and because they control such a vast oil empire, they have a monopoly on their product. The organization can raise its prices on a whim whenever it wants, impacting the U.S. greatly. (14)

According to the EIA, with estimates of the 2.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the U.S. and using the current rate of energy consumption, the U.S. has enough natural gas to last 92 years (15). The amount of natural gas in the U.S. compared to other nations can be seen in Figure 4. Using this alternative source of energy can potentially make the U.S. less reliant on foreign nations for energy. Doing so would not only ensure economic stability for almost a century, but also would decrease the price of natural gas and remove OPEC’s stronghold on the U.S. (13)