Monday, December 2, 2013

"Will the US become less interested in the global military role it plays now?"

"... “Texas is the most drilled state in the world,” Maugeri said. “To give you an order of magnitude, the number of wells drilled in Texas compared to Saudi Arabia is 1,000 to one.”The ability of the United States to dominate the extraction of shale deposits at home raises another question, troubling to some: Will the United States become less interested in the global military role it plays now?
“One thing this may do is untangle the obsessiveness about Middle East oil, this whole idea that we have to somehow protect these sea routes at all costs,” said Mark Clinton Thurber, associate director of the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development at Stanford University...
Today, U.S. taxpayers foot the bill for Navy ships that largely protect supertankers headed to Asia. China overtook the United States as the largest importer of Persian Gulf oil two years ago.
That trend will surge, and “it’s going to raise all new questions,” said Amy Myers Jaffe, an expert on global energy production at the University of California, Davis.
“You have the Chinese and other Asians free riding on a U.S. security presence, and I’m not sure that’s sustainable,” said Manning of the Atlantic Council....
Some experts argue that the United States should not disengage from the Persian Gulf because U.S. interests there go far beyond energy supplies. The region is vital to efforts to contain nuclear proliferation and religious extremism, the protection of Israel remains a central U.S. interest, and while the importance of Middle East oil may be on the decline for the United States, any disruption there would send world prices skyrocketing – harming economies in Asia that are vital U.S. markets...
For the short and medium term, oil giants like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait may survive unscathed as they look to Asia, sending as much as 70 percent of their oil there. Smaller oil producers in North Africa and the Middle East, however, may encounter “power struggles or upheaval” as they face declining revenue, according to a report in February from Citigroup, the global financial concern.
Over the longer term, the outlook may be brighter. The Paris-based International Energy Agency forecast in a report this month that rising global demand would allow the Middle East to recapture its role as a key source of oil by the mid-2020s, primarily to meet surging demand in Asia while Europe and the United States reap benefits of improved energy efficiency.
Most U.S. experts concur that a big loser from the growth of the U.S. shale industry will be Russia, which has locked in Eastern and Western Europe as clients for its natural gas, leveraging the reliance on its supplies for political gain..."

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