US Needs to Be Energy Independent
(Editor’s Note: The views expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the Technology & Maintenance Council.)
I read Transport Topics regarding Exxon Mobil’s recent shipment of its first tanker load of U.S. crude oil from Beaumont, Texas, to its refinery in Sicily, Italy. The article also indicated that a 40-year export ban had been lifted.
This was very interesting because our regular gasoline price March 3, in San Antonio, was $1.49 per gallon. Less than one week later, the price increased to $1.69 per gallon, and when I looked March 14, the price had increased to $1.89 per gallon.
I have been retired for almost 20 years, but I remember rationing of oil products during World War II when I was a boy, and the almost stable price of gasoline for almost 30 years after the war. Then came the lack of imported oil in 1973-74 because of the oil embargo by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries — when we waited, sometimes for hours, just to be allowed to purchase five gallons of gasoline usually once per week. This action was taken by our government after the OPEC embargo. There also was the boom and bust of our oil exploration and production in the early 1980s, the aftermath of the bust in the early ’80s when landowners indicated it was costing them $1 per barrel to pump their oil because of the low prices for crude oil.
And now, the new methods of obtaining oil, which created what I understand is the first surplus in our country since the 1930s, appears to be contributing to a new bust in the oil fields — including Eagle Ford Shale here in South Texas.
Those of you making decisions today are a different generation than the one I belong to. We faced difficult decisions regarding oil production and availability,
but I believe we always hoped someday we could be energy independent and another OPEC embargo would have limited impact on our country.
Now, it appears we may have returned to that self-sufficient situation regarding oil and gas — but by exporting our crude oil, which appears to be a nonrenewable source of energy, we could be depleting this resource and could, in the near future, return to dependency on foreign oil and gas to meet the large demands in the United States for those products.
I hope those of you making decisions in the transportation industry will carefully review this change in policy and determine whether there isn’t some more suitable alternative to shipping our domestic oil out of the United States to reduce what is currently termed a glut of oil at home.
Gordon E. Shults