Energy Eevolution Strengthening the US’ Global Position

  • 1 February 2014

The United States is better positioned economically than any other great power for the next 20 to 30 years, according to the former Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency.

David Petraeus, the chairman of the KKR Global Institute and former commander of the US Central Command said the US growth will be led by its energy revolution and it’s twenty-year long North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada.

Petraeus was speaking on ‘The North American Decade’ at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. Petraeus argued that the US is not being left behind and that the Asian Century, led by Chinese growth, had not yet begun.

“North America is also a zone of win-win geopolitics. Now contrast this situation with China’s backyard, or India’s, or Europe’s or for that [the Middle East], in most regions of the world in fact strong countries foster unease among their neighbours,” he said.

Petraeus argued that the US strong political and economic relations with Canada and Mexico, boosted by their strong multicultural ties and shared values, shielded it from animosity with its neighbours.

Petraeus, bullish on US’ economic growth, said the world power recently took over as the leading producer of natural gas and has at least 100 years of reserves at current production levels. Meanwhile, he said, it is projected the US will be the worlds leading oil producer by 2020. Adding that crude oil production is expected to reach 9.5 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2016.

The energy “revolution is a result of American innovation that allows direction drilling deep under the surface of the earth and hydraulic fracturing of deep shale deposits that contain massive quantities of oil and natural gas,” he said.

American oil production is having a significant impact on energy imports, leading commentators to question whether the US stance on the Gulf and reliance on particularly Saudi oil production may change.

Petraeus said the US imported 37 per cent of its oil supplies in 2013 but that figure is expected to drop to 25 per cent or less by 2016.

But Petraues argued that despite the US heading toward energy self-dependence it will continue “to see the free flow of energy resources from the Gulf as a vital resource because it still fuels our trade partners and will be for the foreseeable future.”