Will anyone who is currently predicting U.S. energy independence be punished if the story turns out to be wrong? I ask because the story–and that\’s all it is right now–appears to be driving public policy and business planning practically worldwide.
Often implied with that narrative is a corresponding abundance of oil globally. In fact, some are predicating worldwide abundance on a continuous rise in U.S. oil output. This is despite the fact that even many optimistic forecasts make such ideas seem foolish. The actual data for crude plus condensate (which is the definition of oil) show oil production in the rest of world declining almost as much as the United States has increased its production from 2005 onward. Worldwide crude volumes have barely nudged upward in the last eight years, just 2.7 percent versus 10 percent in the previous eight-year period, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. This is despite record oil prices and record investment!
Now, a lot of people stand to get hurt by the energy independence/abundance story–which is, in effect, a forecast–if the story turns out to be wrong. This is because governments, businesses and households will not have prepared themselves for a negative surprise–all because they were assured that the United States and even the world had nothing to worry about when it comes to oil supplies.