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Obama pledges to slash oil imports

September 7, 2012, Washington, DC — US president Barack Obama promised last night to cut US oil imports in half by 2020 as part of a broader strategy to revive the still-weak US economy.


September 7, 2012
By Argus Media

Accepting his party's nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, Obama told US voters “you can choose the path where we control more of our own energy”.

Trying to counter Republican challenger Mitt Romney's proposal to create an “energy superpower”, Obama laid out a plan in which higher greater domestic production, higher fuel mileage standards and greater reliance on renewables could enable the US to dramatically reduce its dependence on foreign oil.

The US oil cut imports last year by more than 1mn b/d “more than any administration in recent history”, Obama said. The US imported more than 8.9mn b/d of crude in 2011 and 9.1mn b/d in June 2012, the US EIA reported. Slashing imports in half will be comparable to eliminating the need for all of the oil Opec supplies to the US.

With the shale revolution reinvigorating its oil and gas sector, the US is producing more than 6mn b/d for the first time since 1998. Its abundant shale resources are promising to help reverse the decades-long loss of manufacturing jobs to low-wage competitors overseas.

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Obama pointed to new acreage offshore his administration is opening for potential oil and gas exploration, saying “we will open more”.

He predicted development of the US' gas resources will create 600,000 new jobs by the end of the decade.

But Obama said he “will not let oil companies write this country's energy plan or endanger our coastlines or collect another $4bn in corporate welfare”, a reference to his long-standing call to eliminate tax measures beneficial to oil and gas companies.

Obama has imposed new fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards on cars and trucks built in model years 2017-25. He is calling for expanding production of biofuels production, greater use of wind and solar power and development of clean coal technologies.

Romney has described energy as one of the five pillars for revitalising the US economy, promising if elected North America will become energy independent by 2020.

Romney on 30 August mocked Obama's efforts to address global warming, saying the president “promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans, and to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family”.

Obama countered that “climate change is not a hoax, more droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke”.

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