The United States no longer needs to conserve oil as domestic production increases have reduced the need for imports. As a result, the United States has been given “more flexibility than in the past to use our oil resources with less concern," the Associated Press reports, citing a memo from the Department of Energy.
In the same memo, the DoE added a general note about oil conservation by expressing a belief that energy needs to be used wisely, without going into detail. The AP notes that the memo effectively challenges previous attempts to conserve energy, including ones that have become legislation, such as the mileage standard.
Related to this, earlier this month reports emerged that the administration planned to freeze the mileage standard instead of requiring carmakers to improve new cars’ energy efficiency further. This, media suggested, would pit Washington against states that have voluntarily stipulated higher mileage standards in their legislation. If the mileage standard freeze proposal passes, it will increase U.S. oil consumption by half a million barrels daily.
Yet the idea presented in the memo is in tune with President Trump’s energy dominance concept aimed at making the United States not just energy independent, but also expand its clout on international oil and gas markets. Related: Why Mexico’s Oil Production Could Fall Even Further
Whether as a result of this policy or the oil price improvement over the last year or so, U.S. production hit an all-time high last month, and is expected to reach the highest in the world next year, surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia. However, even that won’t be enough to meet domestic demand on its own.
As of 2017, the EIA has calculated daily oil consumption in the country averaged 19.88 million barrels. Production this summer hit 10.9 million bpd, and the EIA expects it to rise further to 11.7 million bpd in 2019, which would make the country the biggest oil producer in the world, provided Saudi Arabia and Russia continue pumping at their current level. In other words, the United States is on track to boost its oil production and exports further. but energy independence is not yet attainable.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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