COMMENTARY | The Washington Post reports an energy revolution is occurring in the Americas that will have profound effects on world politics and could break the power of OPEC.
More oil and gas are being produced from the Arctic Circle in Alaska to new fields in South America, with Canadian tar fields in Alberta and fracking operations in North Dakota and Texas in between. That means less oil is being imported from the volatile Middle East and more from politically stable countries such as Canada.
It should be noted this boom is taking place despite President Barack Obama's energy policies. From the failure to approve the Keystone pipeline to the obstruction of drilling in the Gulf of Mexico to the failure to open new areas such as Alaska's ANWR for production, Obama has been standing in the way.
But just as King Canute was not able to stem the ocean tides, not even Obama has been able to stem the tide of oil. His love affair with subsidies for "alternative energy" such as wind and solar have run into the reality of the marketplace and technology, which still favors fossil fuels.
Just imagine if a more business-friendly person were to be elected president -- say Mitt Romney. Romney's energy platform suggests encouraging domestic oil and gas production and relegating alternative energy to research and development.
Lessening the power of the oil sheiks to disrupt supply deliberately as they did in 1973 and 1979 or as the result of unrest and war will have a profound effect on world politics. No longer will the opinions of men in Riyadh or Tehran hold much weight in world affairs. With fossil fuels coming out of the ground in the New World, it will be a buyers' market in which Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries will have to compete. That means Middle Eastern oil states will have to make concessions and not the West.
Imagine, for example, a future president being able to tell the Saudis that the price for buying that country's oil will be human rights reforms, especially in regard to women. An economic embargo against an Iran that can't sell its oil would bite harder.
A whole new world is on the horizon.