America will be “tantalizingly close” to being energy independent by the year 2020, according to analysts at the Raymond James (RJ) investment firm.
America imported 65.3 percent of its oil in 2005, according to the RJ analysts, but the U.S. only imported 24.2 percent in 2015. RJ projects the U.S. will import just 11 percent of its daily oil needs by 2020, according to CNN Money. Future oil imports will be met almost entirely by Canada and Mexico.
U.S. oil exports boomed after President Barack Obama signed a bill that repealed the 1970s ban on crude exports. Oil exports is could boost the economy by $38 billion, reduce the trade deficit by $22 billion and add 300,000 new jobs by 2020, according to a study by ICF International and the American Petroleum Institute. Another study by the Aspen Institute estimates that the rapid growth of the U.S. oil industry could allow America to remain the world’s largest oil producer while creating up to 1.48 million jobs.
Importing less oil will give the U.S. more diplomatic leverage, according to RJ, because Americans won’t be beholden to OPEC nations or Russia for energy supplies.
“With respect to oil, the boom in domestic production has occurred thanks to advancements in smart-drilling techniques like hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling,” Chris Warren, a spokesperson for the free market Institute for Energy Research, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“In the past, turmoil in other parts of the world, particularly in the Middle East, would result in skyrocketing oil prices. Fortunately more U.S. production has made us less susceptible to those disturbances,” said Warren, who’s not involved with the RJ analysis.
The U.S. has surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest and fastest-growing producer of oil and natural gas, largely due to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The Department of Energy projects the U.S. will become energy independent by 2024. Oil production was 80 percent higher in 2015 than it was in 2008, causing U.S. oil imports to decline and exports to rise.
The International Energy Agency predicted the U.S. will produce 14.2 million barrels per day within the next five years. Saudi Arabia currently produces more than 10 million barrels of oil per day.
“When it comes to electricity, the U.S. is already energy independent for all intents and purposes,” Warren said. “However, forcing more wind and solar power on the grid actually increases our dependence.
This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller