US energy

John Gapper

Ed Crooks’ fascinating piece in the FT today on the prospect of the US achieving energy independence by exploiting its oil and gas reserves in new ways makes me wonder if it will suffer from the “commodity curse”.

The syndrome of oil-rich countries in the Middle East and Africa having fragile political institutions and oligarch-style rule has never appeared to be a problem for the US until now. As the article notes, the US problem has been different – that it depends on those countries for its energy.

A  parallel might be “Dutch disease” – the term coined by The Economist for the troubles faced by the Netherlands in the 1970s when it discovered large reserves of offshore natural gas. The rise in its currency made its manufacturing and other export sectors uncompetitive. Read more