By Jim Cramer RealMoney Columnist 12/3/2010 5:34 PM EST Click here for more stories by Jim Cramer Try Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS CLICK HERE NOW
We've got news out today in an important trade publication showing that South America has now gone from self-sufficiency in natural gas to net importer, as Argentinean production has now peaked. Given that Argentina is perhaps the largest user of natural gas for vehicles in the world, the continent will have no choice but to press the U.S. producers to export as much of its cheap natural gas as possible.
That means that perhaps as early as 2013, we will become an important exporter of natural gas. Shortly thereafter, we will be in the simply ridiculous situation of importing a huge amount oil and shipping out our super-low-cost natural gas at the same time.
The current regime in Washington is oblivious to how much natural gas we have and how cheaply it is produced -- the Department of Energy has specifically said that the possibility of our nation being a big exporter of natural gas simply is unrealistic. But the demand out of South America for natural gas will make it inconceivable that we don't become a huge exporter, given the incredible long-term glut we would otherwise have and the ease with which the commodity can be shipped overseas.
Put simply, we are becoming the lowest-cost producer of this fuel and also are offering no incentives to use it. Argentina is hooked on natural gas for cars and has no way to get off it.
Can anyone politically get behind such a proposition and not seem ridiculous? As my friend and colleague Matt Horween says, it will become ludicrous when this bizarre situation happens.