We all know there is no love lost between California and Washington politics. However, since California is the 5th largest economy in the world, the policies and decisions made in California may be putting the U.S. at a national security risk.
Up and down the West Coast, California has numerous ports including those at: Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Richmond, Port Hueneme, San Diego, Martinez, San Francisco, Benicia, Stockton, Crockett, Sacramento, Redwood City, Eureka, and Alameda.
California’s imports and exports of goods in July 2018 alone, amounted to more than $36 billion in imported goods and $14 billion in exported goods, for the one month. Popular commodities passing through U.S. west coast ports of entry include: electronics, computers and computer equipment, automotive parts, plastics, industrial supplies and materials, fuel and oil, and clothing.
The state’s daily need to support its 145 airports (inclusive of 33 military, 10 major, and more than 100 general aviation) is 13 million gallons a day of aviation fuels. In addition, for the 35 million registered vehicles of which 90 percent are NOT EV’s are consuming DAILY: 10 million gallons a day of diesel and 42 million gallons a day of gasoline. Thus, more than 60 million gallons of fuel per day being used by the 5th largest economy in the world.
According to the U.S. Energy information Administration (EIA) the United States is now the largest global crude oil producer, surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest crude oil producer. The American shale boom has important security implications as well, as America is now less dependent on crude oil from the turbulent Middle East, EXCEPT for California.
California is an “energy island” to roughly 40 million citizens, bordered between the Pacific Ocean and the Arizona/Nevada Stateline with no pipelines over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. To access the oil shale boom from the rest of the country for California, that oil must to go through the Panama Canal to reach California ports. There are other options of crude oil by trucks, or by railroads, but both have been overwhelmingly ruled out environmentally.
Both California’s in-state crude oil production, and Alaskan oil imports are both in-decline to meet the States’ energy needs. Shockingly, California increased crude oil imports from foreign countries from 5% in 1992 to 56% in 2017.
California’s choice to not increase in-state production may become a national security issue for further discussions to not access crude oil from the largest shale reserves and ocean crude oil reserves in the country, in the Monterey Shale and Pacific Ocean. California’s reliance on crude oil imports from foreign countries is at 56% and increasing each year.
In 2017, California imported crude oil from foreign countries at the rate of more than 354 million barrels annually from oil rich foreign countries, costing California more than $26.6 billion annually at the Brent Average Crude Oil Spot Price which was recently $75.36 per barrel for September 2018. . This equates to “exporting” more than $73,000,000 on a daily basis from California to Saudi Arabia, Ecuador, Columbia, Iraq, Kuwait, Brazil, and Mexico and others for the crude oil energy needs of California.
The States’ choice is to continue “exporting” $73 million of its dollars to oil rich nations on a DAILY basis to obtain oil from foreign countries may be exposing the U.S to a national security issue. In addition, those foreign countries have less stringent environmental regulations than California, and transport their crude oil via air polluting ships delivering that the oil to California ports.
The subject of energy for the world’s 5th largest economy is about finding a workable, sustainable balance across equally important concerns for our economy, our shared sense of social equality, our impact on the environment, and a truly sustainable energy future.
Many in California are working hard to produce hydrocarbon energy efficiently, reliably, and safely, and many others are working hard to develop alternative energy sources that will efficiently, reliably, and safely produce carbon neutral energy, but despite those appreciative efforts, California energy needs continue to grow with growing populations of people, vehicles, and businesses.
As mentioned in a recent Rand research study, on imported oil being a threat to U.S. National Security, the United States would benefit from policies that diminish the sensitivity of the U.S. economy to an abrupt decline in the supply of foreign crude oil to the 5th largest economy in the world.
The latest data from the California Energy Commission (CEC), shows that California fuel consumption is at the highest level since 2009, thus continuation of the state’s dependency on foreign countries for the states’ energy needs seems to be the states future, which may not be in the best interests of U.S. national security.