Horizontal drilling and fracking have made oil shale and tar sands rich sources of oil and natural gas, so much so that the United States may prove to possess the largest store of fossil fuel reserves in the world — in theory, with enough gas, oil and coal soon never to need any imported Middle Eastern energy again. “Peak oil” is suddenly an anachronism. Widespread American use of cheap natural gas will do more to clean the planet than thousands of Solyndras.
If the United States uses its resources, then its present pathologies — massive budget and trade deficits, mounting debt, strategic vulnerability — will start to subside.
Israel, thanks to vast new offshore finds, has been reinvented as a potential energy giant in the Middle East. Such petrodollars will change Israel as they did the Persian Gulf countries, but with one major difference. Unlike Dubai or Kuwait, Israel is democratic, economically diverse, socially stable and technologically sophisticated, suggesting the sudden windfall will not warp Israel in the manner it has traditional Arab autocracies, but instead become a force multiplier of an already dynamic society. Will Europe still snub Israel when it has as much oil, gas and money as an OPEC member in the Persian Gulf?
Who would have thought that a few fracking innovators would change the world's carbon footprint far more than did Nobel laureate Al Gore — while offering a way for the U.S. to be energy independent. Or that Angela Merkel, not the European Union, would run Europe. Or that Arabs would be overthrowing Arabs, as oil-rich Israel idly watched.
TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES