Over the weekend the American news media was obsessed with another salacious (though ultimately not nearly so salacious as initially reported) story about the Trump administration.
Largely overlooked in that furor were coordinated drone attacks on roughly half of Saudi Arabia’s crude oil production facilities. Though the Saudi national oil company, Aramco, acted quickly to bring those facilities back online the resulting interruption touched roughly 6 percent of the world’s global oil supply.
Not surprisingly, oil prices have spiked, and with Iran apparently involved in the attacks (for what it’s worth that country is denying) the political instability around this situation is likely to persist.
That means further disruption of global energy supplies as the potential for war looms.
One positive in this situation is that we are more resilient to this sort of oil supply disruption than ever before. U.S. oil production has grown dramatically over the last decade, and we’re now at a highest-ever level of output. We are neck-and-neck with the Saudis when it comes to exporting oil.
Oil is a global market. When it comes to prices, what happens in Saudi Arabia matters. It doesn’t matter as much as it once did because of America’s oil renaissance.
A renaissance made possible over the objections of certain ideological zealots in what I’m hesitant to call the environmentalist movement.
Hesitant because there’s nothing wrong with being an environmentalist. We’re all environmentalists to the extent that we want to be good stewards of our environment. But the political activists most visible in the environmentalist movement these days go far beyond that. They don’t just want responsible development of resources like oil and coal. They want to stop them entirely, and some factions are even willing to use violence and intimidation to make it happen.
North Dakotans witnessed that last first hand during the ugly attacks on the Dakota Access Pipeline project.
Despite the rivers of financial support they enjoy, despite celebrity endorsements and what is often credulous and deferential coverage from the news media, the environmental zealots have been losing this fight. Which is why, as we watch things deteriorate in the middle east once again, our country is in a better position to weather the storm than ever before.
Like it or, both the U.S. and world economies run on oil. An unstable supply is terrible for everyone. One day some other energy source might displace petroleum in the world markets, but that day is not today.
UPDATE: This tweet from Democratic congresswoman, and 2020 presidential candidate, Tulsi Gabbard is interesting. She casts Trump’s support for Saudi Arabia in a negative light, but Gabbard was a supporter of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests and is generally opposed to domestic oil production.
If Gabbard doesn’t want to protect Saudi Arabia’s oil production, and if she opposes domestic oil production, what’s going to fuel her flights back and forth to her district in Hawaii?
Trump awaits instructions from his Saudi masters. Having our country act as Saudi Arabia's bitch is not "America First." https://t.co/kJOCpqwaQS
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) September 16, 2019