U.S. Energy Security continued to improve throughout 2017 according to this year’s Index of U.S. Energy Security Risk report released by the U.S Chamber of Commerce Global Energy Institute (GEI). The report analyzes 37 different metrics to determine vulnerabilities and risk factors across the energy sector. The most recent metrics available show that U.S. energy security risk dropped for the sixth straight year.
Our current score, 77.5, is the best it has been since 1995 and close to the record best of 75 earned in 1992. It’s also 0.3 points down from last years score and a full 24.1 points below our record high reached in 2011. What are some of the factors contributing to our steady decrease in energy security risk? According to the report, there are many.
Of the 37 index metrics reported, a stunning 18 showed a 1% or more decrease in risk while only 9 showed an increase of the same measure. Here are a few that made the biggest impact.
The Natural Gas Import Risk Fell to “0”
The United States became a net exporter of Natural Gas for the first time in 2017. This effectively lowered our import risk to zero — a 100% decrease. Reports indicate that, while the United States did increase natural gas production slightly in 2017, the net exporter status is perhaps better attributed to a larger increase in natural gas exports. Gross exports went from 2.3 trillion cubic feet (tcf) to 3.2 tcf thanks in large part to shipments of Liquefied Natural Gas.
Domestic Crude Oil Output Increased
U.S. oil import risk decreased by 23% this year. Contributing factors include a significant increase in crude oil output. In fact, 2017 saw an increase of approximately 520,000 barrels per day (roughly 5.9%). That brought the total volume produced to 9.4 million barrels per day — an amount that’s only been surpassed four times in the history of the United States. The state of Texas, the largest producer, increased production by 306,000 barrels per day, over 3.5 times that of the Gulf of Mexico which increased production by 80,000 barrels per day.
We will, unfortunately, need to wait until the end of January 2020 to see if the United States was able to remain on trend in 2018. Experts and others in the energy industry predict that the 2018 U.S score. will set a new record low in energy security risk. Contributing factors may include the lessening impact of a 2015 spike in crude oil prices, consistent increases in U.S. production, and a decrease in price volatility.