The increased U.S. oil production may help the environment

In October 2012, we wrote in this column how new ways to pump water is revolutionizing the oil industry due to hydraulic fracturing, a technique to pump water into shale to extract oil and gas.  The obvious result is the ramped up oil production in the U.S.  As a result oil imports have been cut by more than one third compared to few years ago.  It is estimated that by 2020, the total U.S. oil production will exceed Saudi Arabia.  Oil imports from other countries are steadily declining due to oil productions in the U.S.

The U.S. production is mainly light, sweet crude that is easier to process.  What the U.S. have been importing from Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, West Africa (Nigeria and Angola), and Saudi Arabia is heavy, sour crude which is cheaper compared to light and contain more gasoline, tar that makes asphalt, and other products.  Canadian oil company, TransCanada is battling the current Obama Administration to construct the Keystone Pipeline to pump crude oil to the Gulf.  The environmental impact of increased oil production in the U.S. is mixed.  Fracking could pollute ground water but processing of light crude will lesson impacts compared to heavy, sour crude imported from other countries.