September 11 laid bare the nation’s need for energy independence


On the morning of September 11, 2001, images of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and that field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, were shown to the homes and offices of Permian Basin Oil and gas operators as they were around the world.

Although the terrorist attacks took place before the Shale Revolution, September 11 would catapult the Permian Basin to the forefront of the world as a major energy producer, they colored the way the world worked.

“The first impact of September 11 was to raise the security concerns of the global oil industry to a level never seen before in modern times,” Daniel Yergin, vice president of IHS Markit and author of “The New Map : Energy, Climate and the Clash of Nations, ”the Reporter-Telegram told via email.

“He put a new emphasis on energy security and highlighted the jihadist risk to the Middle East and the global oil supply. September 11 led directly to the invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, who opened Iraq, albeit with continued stress along the way, to international industry, ”he said. he continued. “For the United States, 9/11 renewed the bugle’s call for energy independence – but it remained a goal that seemed elusive for another decade until the Shale Revolution hit it,” Yergin said.

Todd Staples, president of the Texas Oil and Gas Association, sees today’s oil and gas workers helping honor those lost in the attacks.

“Honoring the memory of the victims of the bombings and the heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice to save others should rekindle the passion for what America stands for: strength, hope and determination. The oil and natural gas industry is proud to do its part – today and every day – to help keep America safe with reliable, affordable and sustainable energy, ”he said to Reporter-Telegram by email.

Economist Ray Perryman observed that the attacks did not have a huge and immediate impact on energy markets.

“On the day of the attack, prices jumped to around $ 31 a barrel – they were in the $ 20 range – but then fell to highs immediately after,” he told The Reporter-Telegram by e. -mail. “I remember thinking back then that everyone must have gone out and refilled their tanks that day and then stayed home for three weeks. Much of this immediate impact has occurred due to the shock effect and the sharp – but very temporary – reduction in air travel. However, the market recovered fairly quickly and by early 2002 prices and platforms were on a decidedly uptrend. “
He said the attacks had changed the world “in many ways and today would likely be different if it had never happened, but the noticeable effects on the energy sector were short-lived, although the ebb and flow of the Iraq war has caused disruption. from time to time. “

Perryman did not rank attacks among the biggest influences on energy markets over the past 20 years. He cited three, starting with the ongoing revolution in technologies such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, which he says will be one of the major events of this century when historians talk about it in the future. . Next will come the pandemic, as the disruptions have lasted for so long, and, finally, the emerging discussions and policies surrounding climate change.

Odessa tanker Kirk Edwards, chairman and CEO of Latigo Petroleum, told Reporter-Telegram via email that he saw two impacts from the day.

“First, it showed us that countries that we thought were our friends, like Saudi Arabia, actually had people who nurtured and cultivated hatred against our country. The reaction from President Bush and other countries has been swift and powerful, but for me it has shown the people of the United States that we must first think inwardly about who our friends and foes are, especially from the side of the United States. the energy security of this equation.

He added: “The steps taken since then to fortify our strategic energy complexes have been an important step in this process and these fortifications are still being modernized today, especially on the cyber side.”

The 20e anniversary, Michèle Flournoy, former U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy under President Obama, is currently president of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) and co-founder and managing partner of WestExec Advisors, told CERAWeek Conversations that the nation needs to go back to first principles and consider what its vital interests are.

“Preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear weapon state is of vital interest. We have to build a necessary coalition to do this, ”she said. “Even though our energy situation has changed and most Americans think we no longer need to rely on the Middle East as a source, it is a global market, an integrated market. What is happening in the Middle East can have very profound effects on energy prices and it affects us all. “

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