Excerpt from forbes.com
In the early days of the oil industry, the U.S. quickly established dominance as the world’s most important producer and consumer of petroleum. But over time, depletion in the U.S. and discoveries abroad caused U.S. dominance of the petroleum industry to fade. Although the U.S. remained the world’s largest consumer of petroleum, it became increasingly dependent on foreign oil.
It became clear many years ago that U.S. dependence on other countries for petroleum was a national security issue. The issue came to a head in 1973, when various members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) initiated an oil embargo against the United States and certain U.S. allies.
As a result of the embargo, a supply/demand imbalance ensued. Oil prices quadrupled in a very short period of time, contributing to a deep global recession. Our continued dependence on foreign oil has influenced American foreign policy for decades, and it has contributed to multiple military conflicts in the Middle East.
The U.S. received a rare second chance to regain energy independence as a result of the shale oil boom. But the lessons we have learned over the evolution of the oil industry have direct implications as the world transitions to new sources of energy.