Sean Hackbarth Sean Hackbarth
Senior Editor, Digital Content, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


January 06, 2017


Good things happen when American innovation combines with a good energy policy.

The United States could become a net energy exporter by 2026, according to the Energy Information Administration:

The United States is projected to become a net energy exporter over the next decade due to rising natural gas exports and falling petroleum product imports, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Thursday.

While the United States has been a net energy importer since 1953, declining energy imports and growing exports that started over the past year will allow that trend to switch by 2026, the EIA said.

The U.S. is already a net exporter of natural gas.

The change in U.S. energy imports has been impressive. According to the Institute for 21st Century Energy the U.S. imported 30% of its total energy demand in 2005. That’s shrunk to 10% in 2016.

Percentage of energy imported by the United States: 30% in 2005; 10% in 2010.

Credit for this positive outcome goes to fracking. The innovation of combining hydraulic fracturing with horizontal drilling and state-of-the-art information technology allows energy that was once trapped deep below the surface to now be safely produced.

As a result, oil and natural gas production has skyrocketed, with the U.S. as the world’s top producer of oil and natural gas since 2012.

EIA: Estimated petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbon production in selected countries: 2008-2015.

Source: Energy Information Administration.

On the policy side, in 2015 Washington wisely lifted the dated crude oil export ban. Now, both oil and natural gas exports are feeding hungry world markets.

However, there’s plenty more policy improvements that should be done to accelerate this energy revolution. For instance, better regulations that opens more areas—both on and offshore--to be safely developed as well as stream lined permitting processes for energy infrastructure (like liquefied natural gas facilities and pipelines) can continue this momentum.

A new administration along with an allied Congress can mean a much-needed reset in U.S. energy strategy--one that embraces our abundant energy resources.

About the authors

Sean Hackbarth

Sean Hackbarth

Sean writes about public policies affecting businesses including energy, health care, and regulations. When not battling those making it harder for free enterprise to succeed, he raves about all things Wisconsin (his home state) and religiously follows the Green Bay Packers.

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