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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The report assumes a huge expansion in the Chinese economy, which it saw overtaking the United States in purchasing power parity soon after 2015 and by 2020 using market exchange rates. Chinese real gross domestic product is expected to increase by 5.7 percent annually between 2011 and 2035.
A rise of 1.8 billion in the world's population to 8.6 billion would lead to a spike in global oil demand by more than a 10th to over 99 million bpd by 2035, keeping pressure on oil prices, the IEA said.
The agency's central "New Policies" scenario, which assumes a range of measures are taken to curb oil consumption in Europe, the United States, China and elsewhere, sees the average import cost of oil rise to just over $215 per barrel by 2035 in nominal terms, or $125 in 2011 terms.
If fewer steps are taken to promote renewable energy and curb carbon dioxide emissions, oil was likely to exceed $250 per barrel in nominal terms by 2035 and reach $145 in real terms -- almost level with the record highs seen four years ago.
The share of coal in primary energy demand will fall only slightly by 2035.
Fossil fuels in general will remain dominant in the global energy mix, supported by subsidies that, in 2011, jumped by almost 30 percent to $523 billion, due mainly to increases in the Middle East and North Africa.
Reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov, Peg Mackey and Christopher Johnson; Writing by Dmitry Zhdannikov; Editing by Christopher Johnson and William Hardy
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