The United States could become the world's largest oil producer by 2020, according to the International Energy Agency. The IEA projects U.S. oil production will reach 11.1 million barrels per day in eight years and that oil imports will decline by more than half within a decade.
That's welcome news for energy producers in Oklahoma and consumers in the rest of the country. Increased domestic production will reduce the flow of U.S. money to regimes that are often hostile to Americans, and it should restrain price increases at the gas pump.
But that's only if President Barack Obama and his administration will let the market work. So far, his administration hasn't given much reason to expect that outcome.
Obama blocked construction of the northern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would allow Canadian oil to flow to U.S. refineries and increase fuel supplies. He can still approve the pipeline, and should.
Under Obama, the Environmental Protection Agency appears eager to effectively end hydraulic fracturing — the technology most responsible for the IEA's new forecast — through over-regulation.
Obama previously promoted expensive “cap and trade” legislation that would dramatically hinder energy development and gouge consumers, and multinational bank HSBC Holdings recently suggested he is considering a tax on carbon emissions (which the White House denies).
Obama's energy policy has championed “green” projects that mostly drain millions from tax coffers before going bankrupt (i.e. Solyndra) rather than fostering domestic production of fossil fuels.
In a political version of the rooster who claims his crowing made the sun rise, Obama often bragged on the campaign trail that domestic energy production increased on his watch — even though he had nothing to do with it. The IEP report shows he could continue to reap the benefits of others' work on energy production by simply getting the federal government out of the way.