Matthew Hulbert Contributor
U.S. energy independence must be about to happen. The International Energy Agency just devoted its World Energy Outlook 2012 to telling us so. America will become the largest producer of oil and other liquid fuels on Earth by 2020; it will be entirely self-sufficient by 2030; and a net exporter by 2035. Boom. Epic stuff.
It would be churlish to deny that U.S. energy growth will provide major economic gains to America — of course it will. Here’s a few hundred pages explaining exactly what they are. But this isn’t going to be a free lunch for America.
We’ll leave aside the fact that IEA forecasts have a strong track record of being universally wrong, or that a month ago they were pinning all their supply side hopes on Iraq coming good to ‘balance’ international oil markets. Minor stuff; but having just flown over the Bosphorus en route to Ankara via Istanbul, believe me, the world looks very different depending on where you’re sat. Here are 10 reasons for the U.S. to be cautious on energy supply growth, irrespective of however the IEA forecasts play out:
1) America Will Never Be The New Saudi Swing
2) Global Pricing Pressures Will Always Influence US Pumps
3) Transitional Friction Will Be Profound
4) U.S. Policy Suffers Structural Paradox
5) All Points On The Compass Look East
6) America Might Lose Friends Closer To Home As Well
7) America Will Struggle To Keep Pace
8 ) But Fear Not, America Can End Up A Chinese Lake
9) Blunt Conclusion: China Gains Most From Cheap U.S. Oil
10) Blunt Footnote: Climate Mitigation Gone, Climate Adaptation The New Game