Nordea’s Thina Saltvedt sees US energy self-sufficiency, but not in oil

Thina Saltvedt, Nordea’s oil analyst, sees the US becoming energy self-sufficient, but does not believe it will happen in oil without further changes to the way the economy works.

When can the US become energy self-sufficient?

The US can become self-sufficient in energy, but not in oil unless radical changes are made to the transport sector. Hardly any competition exists within the sector, and it will be a long while before a sharp decline in oil consumption materialises as a result of intensifying competition from other sources of energy. But the US can become self-sufficient in natural gas provided that the infrastructure for transporting gas is extended to various parts of the country

How will security policy change globally given the new US energy situation?

We already see signs of changes. Saudi Arabia now exports more oil to China than to the US. The US has already started to reduce its oil imports from politically unstable countries like Nigeria and Venezuela. New trading routes open up and countries form new alliances. In terms of security policy, it will be interesting to see how it will influence the US in its role as global policeman and how Russia will react to stronger competition in the European markets.

How will various types of energy prices be affected?

US gas prices have moved sharply lower due to shale gas production. If the US starts to export natural gas to Europe and Asia, competition will intensify on these continents. Longer term, gas prices in Asia are likely to decline, whereas prices in Europe could edge slightly lower or flatten. From an oil market perspective, shale gas contributes to improving the balance between supply and demand. Oil markets have been characterised by tight supplies due to production disruptions caused by political unrest in several countries (Sudan, Nigeria, Libya, Syria and Iran).Production of US shale oil is absolutely necessary to dampen sharp oil price movements.

How does shale gas affect carbon dioxide emissions and indirectly the climate?

The production of shale gas requires large volumes of water in the extraction process. Diesel, an oil product for pumping and drilling, is used for this purpose. Nature, too, is affected by chemicals used in the extraction process, by the drilling itself and transports with the risk of accidental spills.


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