Americans Win with American Energy

on November 18, 2014 at 2:00 PM


Foreign Imported Cars Sit Idle At Port Storage Lot

North America’s Energy Revolution Will Have a Ripple Effect Around the Pacific

The Economist: To find out how much energy security has mattered in the Pacific’s recent history, ask the Japanese. At the museum of the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which honours the country’s war dead (sometimes controversially), an exhibit suggests, with a jarring note of self-justification, that an American naval blockade against Japanese oil imports in 1941 triggered the Pacific war.

Seventy years later a tsunami that swooshed in from the Pacific and knocked out the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station led to the closure of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors. Parts of the country, which is a greedy consumer of electricity, were left practically powerless. Huge tankers full of natural gas, heading for terminals dotted along Japan’s Pacific coastline, eventually got the country up and running again. In 2012 Japan consumed 37% of the world’s liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The past few years have seen some upheavals in the balance of energy security around the Pacific. America, which used to be the world’s largest net oil importer, ceded that spot to China in 2013 (see chart 4). Thanks to shale oil and gas, this year it is set to become the world’s biggest producer of oil and liquid natural gas. It is already the number one producer of dry natural gas.

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By Mary Leschper

Originally posted November 17, 2014

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