The shift from dependency toward self-sufficiency came extraordinarily fast, says Jason Bordoff, director of Columbia University's Center on Global Energy Policy and a former senior energy adviser to President Obama. A few years ago, the U.S. was expecting to be dependent on natural gas imports from countries such as Qatar. In early 2010, Bordoff says, the administration began to grasp the implications of the oil and gas boom as a result of fracking, the controversial method of pumping water and chemicals deep into shale deposits to release oil and natural gas. "This is a really historic opportunity for the country to dramatically reduce our dependence on energy imports and increase economic activity," Bordoff says, though he adds that the U.S. is still learning and understanding what impact it has on foreign policy and diplomacy. "But I do think the U.S. is engaging diplomatically from a position of greater strength now."