What are the important choices in an age of abundance?
The world is experiencing a new age of energy abundance, largely because the United States, the largest energy consumer, is also increasingly a producer. In addition, Brazil and Canada, among others, are emerging as oil powers. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in which high-pressure streams of water and chemicals are injected into shale rock formations, is unlocking vast supplies of oil and natural gas. Increased energy production is helping the U.S. balance of trade with other countries, lowering energy bills nationwide and reigniting hopes of regaining lost manufacturing jobs. The shifts may also give the United States new flexibility in foreign policy. But the boom comes with a price: Many worry about what fracking is doing to drinking water and other aspects of the environment. Moreover, after accidents involving oil-carrying trains, critics are concerned about the safety of the nation's energy-transportation system.
Coronil, Fernando, “The Magical State: Nature, Money and Modernity in Venezuela,” University of Chicago Press, 1997. Coronil, who was a professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan, tells how the discovery of oil shaped Venezuelan society and culture.
Gold, Russell, “The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World,” Simon & Schuster, 2014. Gold, a veteran Wall Street Journal energy reporter, recounts the story of hydraulic fracturing and its impact.
Marcel, Valerie, “Oil Titans: National Oil Companies in the Middle East,” Brookings Institution Press, 2006. Marcel, an energy analyst at Chatham House in London and a former professor at the Institut de Sciences Politiques in Paris, describes how the oil industries of Middle Eastern nations unshackled themselves from the Western oil giants.
Yergin, Daniel, “The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power,” Simon & Schuster, 1991, 1992, 2008. Founder of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, an energy consulting firm recently acquired by IHS, Yergin is considered America's foremost chronicler of the energy industry. “The Prize,” the definitive history of the field, won the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction.
Gilbert, Daniel, and Justin Scheck, “BP Is Found Grossly Negligent in Deepwater Horizon Disaster,” The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 4, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
Gold, Russell, and Daniel Gilbert, “The U.S. Is Overtaking Russia as Largest Oil-and-Gas Producer,” The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 2, 2013, http://tinyurl.com/
González, Ángel, “Expanded Oil Drilling Helps U.S. Wean Itself From Mideast,” The Wall Street Journal, June 27, 2012, http://tinyurl.com/
Reed, Stanley, “Britain Proposes Easier Access to Tap Shale Rock Energy,” The New York Times, May 24, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
Roberts, Dan, “Sweeping new US and EU sanctions target Russia's banks and oil companies,” The Guardian, Sept. 12, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
Reports and Studies
“Annual Energy Outlook 2014,” U.S. Energy Information Administration, May 7, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
“Shale Gas—A Global Perspective,” KPMG International, 2011, http://tinyurl.com/
“World Energy Outlook 2013,” International Energy Agency, Nov. 12, 2013, http://tinyurl.com/
Larson, John, and Richard Fullenbaum, “America's New Energy Future: The Unconventional Oil and Gas Revolution and the Economy—Volume 3: A Manufacturing Renaissance,” IHS, September 2013, http://tinyurl.com/
The Next Step
Cama, Timothy, “Report: Natural gas exports could hurt Russian state-owned company,” The Hill, Sept. 22, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
Feng, Bree, “Russia Uses Its Natural Gas to Play the China Card, Again,” The New York Times, Sept. 25, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
Snyder, Jim, “Keystone-Oil Export Ban Sought by Senator Backing Pipeline Bill,” Bloomberg News, Jan. 13, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Middle Eastern Oil
Kantchev, Georgi, “How Low Can Oil Go? And When's It Going Back Up?” The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 19, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
El Gamal, Rania, “Facing new oil glut, Saudis avoid 1980s mistakes to halt price slide,” Reuters, Oct. 14, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
Graeber, Daniel, “EIA: Oil threats present, but subsiding,” United Press International, Oct. 8, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
Carrington, Damian, “UK to allow fracking companies to use ‘any substance’ under homes,” The Guardian, Oct. 14, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
Cama, Timothy, “Obama Sending Mixed Messages on Natural Gas,” The Hill, Jan. 18, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Philips, Matthew, “U.S. Oil Producers May Drill Themselves Into Oblivion,” Bloomberg Businessweek, Oct. 13, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
Crooks, Ed, and Anjili Raval, “US poised to become world's leading liquid petroleum producer,” The Financial Times, Sept. 29, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
Dearen, Jason, “Feds approve oil exploration off US Eastern Coast,” The Associated Press, July 19, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
Gilbert, Daniel, and Justin Scheck, “Big Oil Feels the Need to Get Smaller,” The Wall Street Journal, Nov. 3, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
American Petroleum Institute
1220 L St., N.W., Washington, DC 20005-4070
Trade group for the oil industry that lobbies the public and legislators and propagates guides to best practices for the industry.
Association of American Railroads
425 Third St., S.W., Washington, DC 20024
Lobby for railroad companies; publishes statistics and offers the industry's views on energy transportation.
Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
2100, 350-7 Ave., S.W., Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2P 3N9
Trade group for the Canadian oil industry that publishes an array of statistics.
Food and Water Watch
1616 P St., N.W., Suite 300, Washington, DC 20036
Environmental group that fights hydraulic fracturing.
International Energy Agency
9, rue de la Federation, 75739 Paris Cedex 15, France
Intergovernmental organization linking oil-consuming countries; publishes international energy statistics.
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries
Helferstorferstrasse 17, A-1010, Vienna, Austria
Intergovernmental organization that unites oil-producing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America; controls about a third of the global oil market.
U.S. Energy Information Administration
1000 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, DC 20585
The energy statistics arm of the U.S. government that gathers and disseminates energy data for the public and policymakers.