The North American Energy Revolution

North America as the new fossil fuel powerhouse. We’ll look at the blessing, the curse and how it may reshape geopolitics and energy politics.

In this Friday, July 20, 2012 photo, workers are pictured on a drilling rig near Calumet, Okla. Oklahoma is one of several states, including North and South Dakota, that has enjoyed a boom in the energy sector driven in large part by new and improved drilling techniques such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, which cracks open fissures in rock formations to retrieve oil and gas. (AP)

In this Friday, July 20, 2012 photo, workers are pictured on a drilling rig near Calumet, Okla. Oklahoma is one of several states, including North and South Dakota, that has enjoyed a boom in the energy sector. (Sue Ogrocki/AP)

The new and exploding fossil fuel abundance of the United States is still sinking in. Oil and gas are now being pulled in huge quantities out of American shale. The United States is projected to overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s number one oil producer by 2020.

The implications are still settling in. Do we still need to keep the Navy’s Fifth Fleet in Middle East sea lanes? Should China deal with that? And if we fully use our new fossil fuel abundance, what climate will we have left?

Up next On Point: The blessing, curse and just plain big changes of America’s new fossil fuel energy boom.

— Tom Ashbrook


Antoine Halff, head of the International Energy Agency’s Oil Industry and Markets Division.  He was the lead author and editor of the agency’s “Medium-Term Oil Market Report” which was released last week.

Michael Levi, senior fellow for energy and the environment and director of the program on energy security and climate change at the Council on Foreign Relations. Author of “The Power Surge: Energy, Opportunity, and the Battle for America’s Future.” (@levi_m)

Richard Heinberg, senior fellow at the Post Carbon Institute. Author of the upcoming book, “Snake Oil: How the Petroleum Industry’s False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future.” (@richardheinberg)

Show Highlights

From Tom’s Reading List

Bloomberg: Oil Shockwaves From U.S. Shale Boom Seen by IEA Ousting OPEC — “The U.S. shale boom will send ‘shockwaves’ through the global oil trade over the next five years, benefiting the nation’s refiners and displacing OPEC as the driver of supply growth, the IEA said. North America will provide 40 percent of new supplies to 2018 through the development of light, tight oil and oil sands, while the contribution from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will slip to 30 percent, according to the International Energy Agency.”

The Atlantic: What If We Never Run Out of Oil? — “This perspective has a corollary: natural resources cannot be used up. If one deposit gets too expensive to drill, social scientists (most of them economists) say, people will either find cheaper deposits or shift to a different energy source altogether. Because the costliest stuff is left in the ground, there will always be petroleum to mine later. ‘When will the world’s supply of oil be exhausted?’ asked the MIT economist Morris Adelman, perhaps the most important exponent of this view. ‘The best one-word answer: never.’ Effectively, energy supplies are infinite.”

Tweets From During The Show

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Nov 30, 2015
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