Increased U.S. oil production has had an important byproduct: domestic shelter from some of the storm of international events.
As Tulsa World reporter Mike Averill showed in a Sunday story, world prices still react to tumult in the Middle East, but a cushion of domestic production and reserves helps lessen the impact on American markets.
If you ran to the filling station to top off your tank the morning of June 13, the day Iran allegedly attacked oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, you were probably a little miffed to see Tulsa gasoline prices had dropped a cent a gallon by the end of the day. A few weeks later, prices have risen — an average of about 10 cents a gallon nationally last week. But AAA reports that higher fuel taxes that some states implemented July 1 may have had as much of an impact on that as international affairs.
And, at least for now, there seems to be plenty more waiting to be produced. Averill reported that, as of May, some 8,283 wells have been drilled but are not completed nationally, a 51% increase from September 2016. There’s petroleum in the ground that we’re ready to tap, but we aren’t pumping, primarily because domestic oil doesn’t have the infrastructure to get it going.
This isn’t just a consumer issue. Oil independence for the United States equates to economic and diplomatic independence from OPEC’s emirs and Russia’s oligarchs. Their leverage remains gallingly strong because our allies remain dependent on their supply, But we are in a much stronger position than we would have been had it not been for the hard work, creative efforts and risk-taking entrepreneurship of America’s domestic oil producers.
Mayor G.T. Bynum speaks during the 1921 Mass Graves Public Oversight Meeting.