Ed Fuelner, President of The Heritage Foundation writes in The Washington Times:
Thanks to new rock-fracturing techniques, for example, we’re now pulling hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil from the Bakken formation, a gigantic rock unit that lies under Montana and North Dakota.
How much oil is there in the Bakken? According to energy specialist David Kreutzer, the most recent reliable estimate is 24 billion barrels. That’s clearly a lot, but to see how much that really is, consider that the total estimated amount of oil we can recover in Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay (where commercial oil drilling has been going on since the 1960s) is 13 billion barrels.
That’s right, almost twice as much. The Bakken is now the most-productive onshore oil field discovered in the last half-century.
Then there’s the energy that can be pulled from the recently discovered Utica rock formation (mostly in Ohio). Estimates indicate that it contains oil, natural-gas liquids and natural gas that is equivalent to 25 billion barrels of oil.
We have written previously about the Bakken shale and the extraordinary amount of oil that has is now being produced from it.
Removing barriers to domestic energy production remains a major policy imperative. These jobs tend to pay incredibly well (a boon for the manufacturing base) and tend to do wonders for the towns located adjacent to new exploration and production — as new found wealth revitalizes spending on housing, entertainment, etc. This article notes that the median salary for oil related work in the Bakken area is $82,000 which is 60% higher than the average for other employment opportunities in the area, and much higher than the national average salary. These jobs also “cannot be outsourced” in the sense that all of these oil fields are located in America.
Furthermore, abundant supplies of cheap energy are necessary for global economic growth, as increases in supply — as well as the expectation that access will not be limited in the future — will help to moderate energy prices, allowing Americans to have more disposable income that can be spent elsewhere. As countries like China and India continue to grow wealthier, their demand for energy increases. This chart from the International Energy Agency helps put global demand in perspective:
This is expected energy consumption, and despite the best intentions of the environmentalists, much of this will necessarily be accomplished by fossil fuels — coal, oil, and natural gas. Increasing domestic energy production will help to alleviate rising prices from increased global demand.
Read the rest of the op-ed here.