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US must block exports, build nuclear to reach energy independence

Shane Thielges | Shale Plays Media

An article by John Licata of Reuters today argues that if the United States ever wants to reach energy independence, it has to hang on to all the shale oil and gas it produces and get serious about funding nuclear power.

Licata cautions that predictions of a rosy future for the US energy market are greatly exaggerated. The dream of a country that is totally self-sufficient for its power needs is impossible, he says, given current practices and a few extenuating factors.

Discussion of easing or lifting bans on petroleum product exports has intensified lately, especially after the government clarified a ruling that allows the sale of refined light crude oil overseas. Licata says we should focus on stocking domestic stores to full capacity before we even think about exporting:

As of June 20, 2014, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), the nation’s piggybank for oil, contained 691 million barrels. Capacity for the SPR is 727 million barrels so isn’t talk of exporting our oil premature since we could keep gasoline prices low and further lessen our dependence on foreign oil during any crisis by tapping a full SPR right here at home?

Coal is still the number one supplier of energy in the country, but new regulations on carbon emission will see its use diminish in the near future. Natural gas will be unable to take on the entire burden in time, Licata says, so the nation should turn to the unjustly unpopular nuclear to make up the difference:

We don’t have enough clean domestic energy supply to produce electricity if we abandon domestic coal and simultaneously close perfectly good nuclear plants. Instead, we need more nuclear power since its use won’t add to carbon emission output.

Population growth, economic limitations and a badly outdated process for issuing drilling permits are also cited as energy independence-killers. Essentially, Licata says, we shouldn’t count our chickens before they hatch.

Get more information at Reuters: Want energy independence? Keep the nuclear option and limit exports

Related: Drilling for energy independence

11 comments

  1. I certainly think the world needs to pay a tarriff for US produced crude. Or even process products on the port by Houston.

  2. Do the math. Crude exports are a win-win.

  3. Problem is, our refineries are best suited for high sulfer crude, making it beneficial to us to export our higher priced oil, and import the cheaper stuff. Secondly, oil is a globally traded commodity, therefore we could hoard as much as we wanted and it wouldn’t affect the prices of gasoline. Vote to get rid of the gas tax if you want lower prices at the pump

  4. It seems that we’re a long ways from not importing any oil at all. If we get there it would seem the strategic reserve is largely unneeded.

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