The geopolitics of energy are quickly changing in a way that had been unforeseen just a few years ago.
“There are new players and drivers in the world,” said Ruben Etcheverry, chief executive of Gas and Oil of Neuquén, a state-owned energy firm that is positioning itself to develop oil and gas fields in Patagonia. “There is a new geopolitical shift, and those countries that never provided oil and gas can now do so. For the United States, there is a glimmer of the possibility of self-sufficiency”, he said.
From Canada to Colombia to Brazil, oil and gas production in the Western Hemisphere is booming, with the United States emerging less dependent on supplies from an unstable Middle East. Central to the new energy equation is the United States itself, which has ramped up production and is now churning out 1.7 million more barrels of oil and liquid fuel per day than in 2005.
In Argentina, oil companies are punching holes in the ground in search of what might be one of the biggest recent discoveries in the Americas, with enough gas and oil to make Argentina itself a new important energy player.
Oil produced in Persian Gulf countries — notably Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Iraq — will remain vital to the world’s energy picture. But what was once a seemingly unalterable truth — that American oil production would steadily fall while the United States remained heavily reliant on Middle Eastern supplies — is being turned on its head.
In the last years, exports to the United States have fallen from all major members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC); in that time, Canada, Brazil and Colombia have increased exports to the United States by 700,000 barrels daily and now provide nearly 3.4 million barrels a day.
Six Persian Gulf suppliers provide just 22 percent of all U.S. imports; the United States’ neighbors in the Western Hemisphere, meanwhile, provide more than half.
The US. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved recently the first applications for registration of ethanol for use in making gasoline that contains up to 15% ethanol – known as E15.