A year ago, in reviewing the problems of oil supplies and Western security, I focused on the deplorable developments that had occurred during 1979, and emphasized the grave dangers involved if most of the oil-consuming nations remained dependent on oil from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, and were unable to achieve effective international coordination of their energy policies. It now appears appropriate to examine how circumstances have changed--or remained unchanged--during the intervening year, and to suggest lines of action, for both the short and medium term, that should be pursued vigorously.
For nearly a decade now, the spotlighted fortunes of some oil-exporting countries have been a focus of global interest. Raw materials exporters among the less-developed countries have dreamed of being able one day to establish a producers' association similar to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The industrial powers have helplessly watched their political clout and economic affluence dwindle before the kingdom of oil. The capital-short and aspiring Third World planners have kept telling themselves (and each other) that if only they had this black gold, the magical élan vital for their economic takeoff would be close at hand.
The U.S. energy revolution is not confined to a single fuel or technology: oil and gas production, renewable energy, and fuel-efficient automobile technologies all show great promise. To best position the country for the future, U.S. leaders should capitalize on all these opportunities rather than pick a favorite; the answer lies in ‘most of the above.’