American ”energy independence”? – American shale gas and tight oil production and its consequences for US foreign relations


  • Niklas Rossbach

Publish date: 2014-10-21

Report number: FOI-R--3947--SE

Pages: 114

Written in: Swedish


  • Shale gas
  • shale oil
  • unconventional gas
  • unconventional oil
  • LNG
  • fracking
  • energy independence
  • the Middle East
  • the Persian Gulf
  • Transatlantic relations
  • the USA
  • Asia
  • China
  • Nato
  • TPP
  • TTIP
  • the EU
  • the Ukraine crisis
  • flow security


The United States is the world's only military superpower, but as a result of the unexpected increase in American oil and gas production, some analysts argue that the US is underway to become an energy superpower as well. As such its global influence would increase. Hopes, such as these, view the unconventional gas- and oil production as an energy revolution. US imports of both gas and oil are waning. In fact, the US is well under way to become a net gas exporter in a few years' time, and might even, under favorable conditions, become a net oil exporter within two decades. This sudden development has surprised many security experts and American decision-makers. Until recently they expected the US to become ever more dependent on oil and gas imports. Instead, American debates about energy and security center around whether the US in some way can become energy independent. However, the expression is often taken out of context, and misunderstood. This report analyses how the vast increase in oil- and gas production in the US, where the method of fracking is used to produce shale gas and tight oil, will continue to impact upon US foreign and security policy. It lists possible policy options that the US might pursue. The consequences of unconventional energy production in the US will be manifold. This report focuses on US energy security, and especially US relations: - How the US views its position in the Middle East, and especially its military commitment to the Persian Gulf. - How the US regards transatlantic relations, especially in view of the Ukraine crisis and the TTIP negotiations. - How the US looks at relations in Asia, and especially with its geopolitical competitor China.