The US Hits an Important Oil Milestone

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As the world tries to wean itself off of oil, the United States has finally become a net exporter of the commodity. That's sort of a mixed blessing, but it's a shocking turn of events for a country that was so reliant on imports for decades.

In this segment from Industry Focus: Energy, host Nick Sciple and Fool.com contributor Daniel Kline discuss this significant oil milestone.

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A full transcript follows the video.

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This video was recorded on Dec. 13, 2018.

Nick Sciple: First off the bat, Dan, I wanted to get your thoughts. Based on data we got released last Thursday, December 6th, the U.S. exported more oil than it imported for the first time ever in the last week of November. They exported 211,000 barrels per day. We don't have to go into investing here, but as a U.S. citizen, what does this mean? We're a net exporter of oil here in the United States now.

Dan Kline: I'm a little older than you. I literally remember gasoline shortages. Now, I wasn't driving back then, but I remember the news stories. So, this is stunning. On the other hand, we are coming very late to the party. We are now the masters of something that's, what, 10 years away from being somewhat irrelevant? We're rapidly getting rid of our need for oil and gasoline.

Sciple: That's true. Over the next couple of decades, we're probably going to start to see demand start to roll off. It's remarkable, how we have these supplies, particularly in the shale industry that we didn't even know we could get to for the longest time. And now, we're a net exporter. Just three years ago, President Obama back in 2015 lifted what had been a ban on oil exports going back to the 70s, as you mentioned, the oil crisis under the Carter administration. Just in those past three years, we've gone from it being illegal to export to being a net exporter of oil. It's a really interesting phenomenon going on. We'll have to see how that plays out over time.

Kline: I think there is an investing takeaway -- look at research and development. If there are companies that are saying, "Hey, here's a resource that's trapped. We think we can get it out," that might be a good long-term play.

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