U.S. oil output tops 12 million barrels a day for first time

North America has been able to greatly decrease energy and crude oil reliance on places around the globe that are geopolitically troublesome thanks to Texas oil and gas producers leading the change of global supply of crude oil.

Texas Alliance of Energy Producers petroleum economist Karr Ingham said a huge buffer has been put in place between US consumers and the marketplace because of the explosion of domestic US production of crude oil supply in recent years.

"Global trade even in crude oil and petroleum products, is always a good thing. It provides the best outcome for the consumer and ultimately for the producing community as well," said Ingham.

He said 10 to 12 years ago the US was much more susceptible to events around the world that affected crude oil supply--whether it's weather related, politics, terrorism, or Middle East.

Perhaps we could avoid another 2008, when crude oil prices were near $150 a barrel, leading to $4+ a gallon of gas in Texas and more than that in other parts of the country.

However, there's ramifications if the US is going for total energy independence.

Ingham said while the US is reasonably close to not relying on the Middle East for oil, but there's a lot of moving parts.

"Not the least of which is that our refining structure in the United States is not all that well set up to refine massive amounts of what we're producing the most of, which is light sweet crude oil from shale formations," said Ingham.

He said our crude oil imports also come from Canada. The US sends a lot of petroleum products and natural gas to Mexico. Think about what it means if we would gain complete and utter independence.

"If we do manage to achieve utter, complete and total energy independence where we are producing every single molecule of what we use in terms of domestic energy consumption, that does provide an opportunity for some level of governmental control, we'd be a little bit leery of that, as well," said Ingham.

He said instead, we need the ability to trade throughout the world and send crude oil to countries that can refine that, and continue to import what we are set up to refine well.

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