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.
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"Energy developments in the United States are profound and their effect will be felt well beyond North America - and the energy sector," the IEA said in the annual long-term report, giving one of the most optimistic forecasts for US energy production growth to date.Skip to next paragraph
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"The recent rebound in US oil and gas production, driven by upstream technologies that are unlocking light tight oil and shale gas resources, is spurring economic activity - with less expensive gas and electricity prices giving industry a competitive edge," it added.
IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol told a news conference in London he believed the United States would overtake Russia as the biggest gas producer by a significant margin by 2015. By 2017, it would become the world's largest oil producer, he said.
This could have significant geopolitical implications, if Washington feels its strategic interests are no longer as embedded in the Middle East and other volatile oil producing regions.
The United States will rely more on natural gas than either oil or coal by 2035 as cheap domestic supply boosts demand among industry and power generators, the IEA said.