Minister Ali al-Naimi scoffed at U.S. leaders who extol energy independence, especially from the Middle East, as a political goal.
“This talk of ending reliance is a naive, rather simplistic view,” he told a crowded conference room at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “It seems to conflate on the one hand U.S. foreign policy and on the other U.S. energy policy.”
Al-Naimi said even with the rapid technological gains that led to the current gas boom in the Lower 48, the United States can’t isolate itself from geopolitics or globally commodities markets.
Shale gas accounts for less than half of U.S. gas supply.
And, al-Naimi said, the U.S. bought more Saudi oil in 2012 than any year before.
“Just as I didn’t buy into the peak oil theories, I do not go along with the opinion that increasing U.S. liquid production means the United States could and should detach itself from international affairs,” he said.
That’s especially true considering there are a dozen export permits for liquified natural gas pending before the federal government.
Some 70% of Saudi exports go to Asian markets; the same markets Alaska would like to export its LNG to.