Geologists have discovered a layer of shale saturated with natural gas and oil deep beneath the city of Williston, North Dakota, and the Bakken formation, spanning thousands of square kilometers, has become synonymous with an American economic miracle the country hasn’t experienced since the oil rush of 100 years ago, Spiegel reported Friday.
North Dakota now enjoys full employment, and the state budget shows an estimated surplus of $1.6 billion in 2012. Local truck drivers, for example, are earning $100,000 a year. President Obama has called the discovery of Bakken and other shale gas formations in Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Utah a “stroke of luck,” saying: “We have a hundred years’ worth of energy right beneath our feet.”
According to Fortune magazine, low natural gas prices – natural gas in the United States now costs a quarter of what it did in 2008 – could fuel a comeback of American industry. “Low-cost natural gas is the elixir, the sweetness, the juice, the Viagra,” an American industry representative told Fortune.. “What it’s doing is changing the U.S. back into the industrial power of the day.”
According to Germany’s foreign intelligence agency (BND) study, the political threat potential of oil producers like Iran will decline. In about 15 years, optimists predict, the U.S. will no longer have to send its aircraft carriers to the Persian Gulf to guarantee that oil tankers can pass safely through the Strait of Hormuz.
No one knows what would happen with the Russians, since President Putin’s power is founded on oil and gas revenues. If energy prices decline and Russian revenues go down as a result, Putin could be expected to revert to old Soviet methods of maintaining power, both at home and abroad.
The Arab regimes in the Middle East would have to either use their enormous cash reserves to invest in new products and services (see Qatar’s and Bahrain’s efforts to develop a thriving tourism industry), or slip gently into their former role in world politics, amid the sands of Arabia.
According to Spiegel, German chemical giant BASF has already invested a lot of money in the United States in the last two years. In Louisiana, it has built new plants for the production of methyl amines and formic acid. “The local natural gas price is a criterion that affects the question of where we invest in new production facilities,” says BASF Executive Board member Harald Schwager. At the moment, the United States has a clear advantage over Europe in this regard.”
Dr. Aaron Lerner of IMRA summed this up:
#1. In a few years the US won’t be as concerned about what the Arab think. #2. In a few years the Chinese won’t consider energy supplies from the Arab world as being of paramount importance for its own continued stable growth. #3. In a few years even France and Germany may become energy sources rather than importers.
Certainly sounds like Israel will be in a considerably more favorable position at that time.
So much for the argument that Israel should rush now and cut a lousy deal
with the Palestinians because “time is not on Israel’s side.”