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US predicted to be world's largest oil producer by 2017

New forecasts by the International Energy Agency predict the US may achieve energy independence by 2017. America is expected to surpass Russia as the largest gas producer by 2015, and Saudi Arabia as the world's top oil producer by 2017.

By Peg MackeyReuters / November 12, 2012

Wind turbines, alongside an electrical tower, at the National Wind Technology Center, run by the U.S. Department of Energy, outside Boulder, Colo on Nov. 3. In addition to growth in renewable energy, the US is expected to become the top oil and gas producer by 2017.

Brennan Linsley/AP

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The United States will overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world's top oil producer by 2017, the West's energy agency said on Monday, predicting Washington will come very close to achieving a previously unthinkable energy self-sufficiency.

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The International Energy Agency (IEA) said it saw a continued fall in US oil imports with North America becoming a net oil exporter by around 2030 and the United States becoming almost self-sufficient in energy by 2035.

"The United States, which currently imports around 20 percent of its total energy needs, becomes all but self-sufficient in net terms - a dramatic reversal of the trend seen in most other energy importing countries," it said.

The forecasts by the IEA, which advises large industrialised nations on energy policy, were in sharp contrast to its previous reports, which saw Saudi Arabia remaining the top producer until 2035.

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