The Denver Post - - BUSINESS -

Amer­ica turned into a net oil ex­porter last week, break­ing 75 years of con­tin­ued de­pen­dence on for­eign oil and mark­ing a piv­otal -even if likely brief -- mo­ment to­ward what Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has branded as “en­ergy in­de­pen­dence.”

The shift to net ex­ports is the dra­matic re­sult of an un­prece­dented boom in Amer­i­can oil pro­duc­tion, with thou­sands of wells pump­ing from the Per­mian re­gion of Texas and New Mex­ico to the Bakken in North Dakota to the Mar­cel­lus in Penn­syl­va­nia. U.S. crude ship­ments reached a record 3.2 mil­lion bar­rels last week, gov­ern­ment data show.

The shale revo­lu­tion has trans­formed oil wild­cat­ters into bil­lion­aires and the U.S. into the world’s largest pe­tro­leum pro­ducer, sur­pass­ing Rus­sia and Saudi Ara­bia. The power of OPEC has been di­min­ished, un­der­cut­ting one of the ma­jor geopo­lit­i­cal forces of the last half cen­tury.

“We are be­com­ing the dom­i­nant en­ergy power in the world,” said Michael Lynch, pres­i­dent of Strate­gic En­ergy & Eco­nomic Re­search. “But, be­cause the change is grad­ual over time, I don’t think it’s go­ing to cause a huge revo­lu­tion, but you do have to think that OPEC is go­ing to have to take that into ac­count when they think about cut­ting.”

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