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Making the Best of New Energy Resources in the United States

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  • Douglas Sutherland

    (OECD)

Abstract

Since around 2007, the country has been enjoying an “energy renaissance” thanks to its abundant stocks of shale oil and gas. The resurgence in oil and gas production is beginning to create discernible economic impacts and has changed the landscape for natural gas prices in the United States, boosting competitiveness. In order to reap the benefits fully, significant investment is needed. Federal and state governments capture some of the resource rents, but there are potential opportunities to increase taxation and use the revenues to support future well-being. Taxing natural resource rents with profit taxes can be less distortionary than other forms of taxation, though only one state uses this form of tax. Production of shale resources, like other forms of resource extraction, poses a number of challenges for the environment. Respecting demands on water resources requires adequate water rights are in place while state and federal regulators need to monitor the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing closely and strengthen regulations as needed. Natural gas is a potential “bridge fuel” towards a lower carbon economy, helping to reduce emissions by leading to a substitution away from coal. Flanking measures are desirable to counter natural gas hindering renewables and low prices stymieing innovation. This Working Paper relates to the 2014 OECD Economic Survey of United States (www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/United States). Capital naturel aux États-Unis Les États-Unis possèdent un riche capital naturel. Depuis 2007 environ, le pays connaît une « renaissance énergétique » grâce à ses abondantes réserves de pétrole et de gaz de schiste. Le nouvel essor de la production pétrolière et gazière commence à avoir des effets économiques perceptibles et a changé la situation des prix de l’énergie aux États-Unis, stimulant la compétitivité. Pour tirer pleinement parti de cette évolution, il faudra des investissements significatifs. Le gouvernement fédéral et les États devraient capter une partie de la rente des ressources naturelles et mettre ces recettes au service de l’amélioration du bien-être futur. Alors que la taxation des rentes de ressources via l’impôt sur les bénéfices peut être moins distorsive que d’autres formes de fiscalité, seul un État y a recours. La production de pétrole et de gaz de schiste s’accompagne d’un certain nombre de défis environnementaux. Pour respecter les demandes d’utilisation des ressources en eau, il faut veiller à l’existence de droits sur l’eau appropriés, et les autorités chargées de la réglementation au niveau fédéral et à celui des États doivent surveiller de près les répercussions environnementales de la fracturation hydraulique et renforcer la réglementation autant que nécessaire. Le gaz naturel peut être une « énergie relais » dans la transition vers une économie sobre en carbone et contribuer à réduire les émissions en entraînant le remplacement du charbon. En l’absence d’une action concertée, il y a toutefois un risque que le marché de l’énergie se reporte de nouveau sur le charbon en cas d’épuisement des réserves de gaz naturel ou de modification des prix relatifs. Des mesures d’accompagnement seraient souhaitables pour éviter que le gaz naturel freine le développement des énergies renouvelables et que la faiblesse des prix paralyse l’innovation. Ce Document de travail se rapporte à l'Étude économique de l'OCDE de États-Unis 2014 (www.oecd.org/eco/etudes/Etats Unis).

Suggested Citation

  • Douglas Sutherland, 2014. "Making the Best of New Energy Resources in the United States," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1147, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:1147-en
    DOI: 10.1787/5jz0zbb8ksnr-en
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    air and water pollution; boom des ressources; energy; government policy; hydrocarbon resources; impôts sur les ressources; politiques publiques; pollution de l'air et de l'eau; resource booms; resource taxation; ressources en hydrocarbures; énergie;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • Q33 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Resource Booms (Dutch Disease)
    • Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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