Over the last 20 years, North American oil and gas reserves have been boosted by the large scale exploitation of so-called unconventionals – mainly shale oil and tar sands. Now America is self-sufficient in oil production, and has even begun exporting petroleum products further afield.
Admittedly a lot of the new production has come from Canada and Alaska, but that’s a small price to pay to reverse the US dependency on the OPEC cartel. Fracking was also a key technology in this development.
A little more than a decade ago, the United States was awash with natural gas, until gas-to-liquid technology was imported from Sasol, and American gas guzzlers began guzzling, well, gas!
Combined with the increasing development of African and South American offshore oil fields, America’s turnaround on oil has left the OPEC nations with few other big customers – other than China. But even China is losing interest in oil, as their solar, nuclear and synthetic fuel programs are booming. Fracking unlocked vast reserves of gas in China too.
Russia discovered that oil from the frozen north was actually much cheaper, and in plentiful supply.
Now the oil price is falling and the ‘Second Arab Spring’ could become a reality.