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A hydraulic fracturing drill rig lights up the landscape at dusk near Troy, Pennsylvania, USA, 08 March 2012. The controversial drilling practice, also known as fracking, requires injecting huge amounts of water, sand, and chemicals at high pressure thousands of feet beneath the earth’s surface to extract reserves of natural gas.

A truly fascinating article from Der Spiegel on the rapidity of the change in the geopolitical power balance as the United States moves to complete energy independence in oil and gas within the next few years.

I would say that oil politics have been in the back of my mind since I was in college and experienced the Arab oil embargo and long gas lines. The US Government even printed millions of gasoline rationing stamps in the event we had to ration gas, something not done since the Second World War. Living in New Orleans when I did, oil was a major business, if not the major business of Louisiana. That I would see the US become energy independent given how bad things looked in the 1970s is astonishing.

Full Throttle Ahead: US Tips Global Power Scales with Fracking

The United States is sitting on massive natural gas and oil reserves that have the potential to shift the geopolitical balance in its favor. Worries are increasing in Russia and the Arab states of waning influence and falling market prices.

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President Barack Obama speaks during his visit to oil and gas production fields located on federal lands outside of Maljamar, NM, Wednesday, March, 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

[Source: Der Spiegel. Images courtesy of Der Spiegel and Der Spiegel.]