The amnesia about energy security is over. The global energy crisis fueling record high inflation is shaking governments as consumers are stunned and angry at high prices and the prospect of shortages.
The general concern with energy security had dissipated over the past decade, in part because of the emergence of U.S. shale oil. Fracking transformed America from the world’s largest importer of oil to the largest producer and, after decades of promise, delivered energy independence. Political or military threats to energy supplies in the Middle East or elsewhere could be absorbed by U.S. production. When Iranian missiles hit a huge oil-processing facility in Saudi Arabia in September 2019—something that in previous years would have sent prices skyrocketing—American shale production cushioned the supply shock. Prices hardly budged.