America's bright energy future

Domestic energy production on private or state lands has surged over the past seven years, and this is great news for America. Per barrel oil production has increased 400 percent to an estimated 400 barrels per day in the past six years in what are known as the big three oil fields: Bakken (North Dakota), Permian Basin and Eagle Ford (Texas).

The International Energy Agency (IEA) projects that next year, the United States will surpass Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world's largest oil producer, and by 2035, the U.S. is projected to have finally achieved the long-promised goal of energy self-sufficiency.

Of course, President Obama has been crowing about this as one of his administration's achievements, which like many of his claims, is far from the truth, as energy production on federal lands has actually declined during his tenure in office.

But this story is not about the federal government's shortcomings in this quest, or even about the environmentalist regulatory attempts to stymie energy development. No, it is about what happens when profit drives very smart people to figure out new ways to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks, and what it means to you and me when they succeed.

The BBC writes that the U.S. move toward energy self-sufficiency, "could help spark a golden age for [U.S.] manufacturing."

According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study, the energy boom will create an estimated one million manufacturing jobs by 2025. New, good-paying jobs generated directly from low energy prices from the shale energy industry.

An industry that has dramatically increased productivity over the past decade by devising new, more efficient ways to extract oil and natural gas from shale rock formations. And the innovation has continued to expand the amount of energy produced as companies pour intellectual resources into the question of how to maximize the oil or natural gas extraction per well.

A decade ago, as fans of the movie and television show "Friday Night Lights" can attest, the Permian Basin of Texas was a seemingly played-out oil patch that was producing a steady, but flat oil flow. Now, due to the revitalization of the fields due to the capital investment, hard work and engineering smarts of individuals and the companies they work for, Midland-Odessa is once again thriving as the Permian Basin has seen a doubling of the oil produced from the field in the past six years alone.

This energy revolution is the cornerstone for a second American Century, where our nation can spread economic prosperity around the world while rebuilding the hope for our own citizens that opportunity will be greater for the next generation than it is today.

When coupled with the future potential for unlocking the 1 trillion barrels of oil in the Green River Basin (Wyoming, Colorado and Utah) shale formation, there is a beacon of economic hope for our nation's future.

A free enterprise-led energy-based prosperity that reestablishes our manufacturing sector and the honest, good-paying work it provides, all due to the availability of inexpensive domestic energy. A probable future for the greatest nation ever conceived, if only our government stays out of the way and lets it unfold.

Manning (@rmanning957) is vice president of public policy and communications for Americans for Limited Government. Contact him at

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