Important headlines for May 2nd - Saying see ya to OPEC & About that dinner

posted by Brian Mudd -

Important headlines for May 2nd - Saying see ya to OPEC & About that dinner Saturday night... 

Bottom Line: These are stories you shouldn't miss and my takes on them... 

Hot Take: Insert your own thoughts here after hearing that headline... You mean the MSM still has credibility it can lose? Anyway, once you finish up your initial laugh at the innocence of the premise of that headline – I'm inclined to agree. A party for the media with a President they're tasked with covering, hosted by a comedian designed to roast the President? Odd at best, too cozy at worst and pointless generally. It certainly isn't what it was even created to address. What was that by the way? 

In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson, in-conjunction with Congress, was accused of hand selecting those in the media he'd allow to cover him via the credentialing process. To address those concerns he agreed to an event where all journalists were welcome to attend and cover him and the White House Correspondents Association was formed. The Correspondent's Dinner became an annual tradition. Now, how relevant is the premise of the dinner in the context of today? Think President Trump's hand picking the news coverage of him? So yeah, ditch the dinner and maybe try getting the day job right? Anything that's so vulgar that CSPAN had to suspend the broadcast of the dinner on radio due to repeated FCC violations is a disgrace. Anyone who'd suggest otherwise therefore qualifies as disgraceful. And btw, that's not my opinion. That'd be according to the FCC.  

Hot Take: This is a story I put together the first week of January... How close are we to energy independence? Probably closer than you think...  

Energy independence has been a concept that's been floated for years and sounded nice but often seemed implausible given how much energy we'd relied on from around the world. In recent years that dynamic has shifted considerably however. The growth of solar, the advent of more efficient/electric cars, greater adaptation to natural gases and the biggest impact of all - record oil production within the United States - have put the idea of American energy independence very much in play.   

The proliferation of fracking dramatically enhanced US oil production which ramped up considerably between 2008 & 2012. The combination of increased regulation, and certain states/communities opposing the practice, muted the growth. Add in the lower oil prices over the past couple of years and the incentive to push forward was mitigated. That's begun to change considerably over the past year. It's no secret that the Trump administration has relaxed thousands of regulations on various businesses and the energy sector is no exception. The result was that at the start of 2017 the US was averaging about 8.8 million barrels of oil per day. By December we were at 10.1 million barrels daily. That's a huge 15% increase within one year. And the trend is still our friend, at least if you want the US to achieve independence...  

According to research firm Rystad Energy, the United States will add another million barrels of production per day ending the year with 11.1 million barrels of oil per day. Not only is that another 10% increase this year but... Part of the reason we've not been able to foresee energy independence in the US previously is that we've been the biggest consumer of oil in the world but only a distant third leading producer of oil. As recently as a year ago we produced about 2.5 million fewer barrels of oil per day less than Russia and about 2 million fewer than Saudi Arabia. Not only have we been bridging that gap but if Rystad's research is correct - the US will pass Russia and Saudi Arabia in production by year end. That's a massive step in the energy independence direction.   

In 2012 the US was still importing more than 61% of the oil we consumed. By 2017 we were only importing 25% of the oil we consumed. It's a pretty remarkable 36% improvement in just five years. You can quickly see how an estimated 26% two-year additional improvement in oil production - along with the continued adaptation to other forms of efficient energy, has the potential to make American energy independence a truly attainable goal...and one that's potentially just around the corner.  

Until tomorrow... 

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