Oil consumption shifting balance of power from West -- report

May 9, 2013 at 8:40 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 9 (UPI) -- While the United States is more energy secure now than in the past, the national security picture with respect to energy is a complex one, U.S. researchers say.

Students at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications found the United States is more energy secure than ever given the natural gas boom of recent years. However, the goal of energy independence remains elusive.

"The complexity of energy geopolitics means the U.S. will remain invested in the global market even if the domestic energy boom continues. With oil a globally traded commodity, unrest and disruption anywhere in the world has the potential to impact prices and supply everywhere," the study, titled "Oil Change: The World's Most Precious Commodity and the Future of U.S. Security," said.

The study found the balance of power is shifting away from the United States and the West as developing economies in China and India drive imports to the East.

The students warned of vulnerabilities in the safeguarding of domestic oil and petroleum infrastructure, noting sources such as U.S. domestic sources, like the Port of Houston, remain vulnerable to threats such as natural disasters, cyber and terrorist attacks.

The study was developed as part of Medill's National Security Journalism Initiative.

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