What if the shale revolution had never happened? We’d be another $250 billion in the hole with our trade deficit. That’s the finding of a new report released by IHS Markit titled “Trading Places: How the Shale Revolution Has Helped Keep the U.S. Trade Deficit in Check.” The report finds the total U.S. merchandise trade deficit in 2017 was $250 billion lower than it otherwise would have been if the petroleum (crude oil, refined products and natural gas liquids – petroleum liquids separated out from natural gas and also known as NGLs) trade deficit had remained at its 2007 level. Thank God for shale! The report also examines the impact of rising U.S. oil, natural gas and chemicals production on the domestic trade merchandise balance and how the U.S. position in energy and chemicals may evolve in coming years. Interesting stuff.