'Energy Independence' – Can the U.S. kiss the Middle East goodbye?
The Tawke oil field and plant that is linked with the Jihan Turkish pipeline in Zakho, Iraq
November 16th, 2011
05:28 PM ET

'Energy Independence' – Can the U.S. kiss the Middle East goodbye?

By Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty

"Energy independence."

It's a phrase bandied about by liberals and conservatives alike: Produce enough oil, gas and other energy commodities right here in the United States - or with our friends in Canada and Mexico – and you can kiss producers in the volatile Middle East goodbye.

But is that possible? Or just a pipe dream?

The State Department's special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs, Ambassador Carlos Pascual, told reporters Wednesday: "We always have to remember we're operating in global markets.

Pascual, who announced creation of a new Energy Resources Bureau at the State Department, says because the United States is operating in a global market, "It's in the interest of the United States to ensure that there is as much available of globally traded commodities as possible."

After all, "prices are driven by a global marketplace," he adds.

Around the world other countries are gobbling up energy resources - China and India in particular.

"And as they are putting greater pressure on those global markets...it could cause prices to, in fact, increase," Pascual explains, "and that could still have an impact on the United States."

"We can't delink ourselves from these global markets," he says.

The U.S. has been increasing domestic production of both oil and gas and it's important for the nation to look at the sustainable development of energy resources.

But growing demand from other countries still is going to affect prices.

Because of that, he says, "We need to continue the kind of diplomacy with producers - key producers like Saudi Arabia and Russia - because they will always keep affecting those markets, even if we have greater supplies here in the United States."

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  13. Ben

    As an engineer working in the energy sector, I don't fully agree with this article. While energy production is driven by a global market, it is possible and inherently necessary that the United States develops methods in which to become as energy independent as possible. It would reduce the demand (and costs) on the rest of the global market, as well as allow us to still purchase Saudi oil when needed.

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  14. leslie20

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