Saudi oil minister predicts more active US in energy markets

Al-Naimi said talks of North American energy independence is “naïve and simplistic,” explaining such discourse “fails to recognize the interconnected nature of global energy markets.”

Since the United States consumes more oil than it produces, it still makes sense for the United States to import some of it because prices are set globally, al-Naimi said. He said that helps explain why U.S. imports of Middle East oil still rose last year despite frequent boasts of North American energy independence on Capitol Hill.

On the possibility of the United States hoarding its fossil fuel supplies for domestic consumption, al-Naimi therefore said, “I don’t believe that is in anybody’s best interest, and I don’t think that will happen.”

Many lawmakers feel the same way.

Some have touted increasing exports — especially for liquefied natural gas — as a way to generate more federal revenues and jobs. Even further, some see exports as a tool to free allies from relying on less friendly suppliers.