US to become biggest global producer of oil

THE US will lead a sweeping transformation in oil and gas production and will overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s top oil producer before 2020, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said yesterday.

Its World Energy Outlook said that the US, which currently imports around 20 per cent of its total energy needs, would buy in less and less to eventually become a net exporter of natural gas by 2020, and become almost self-sufficient in energy terms by 2035.

The resurgence of oil production in the US in the last few years is projected to continue, the report said, as the rise in light oil production in the US has been “nothing short of spectacular”.

The energy agency forecasts the States’ oil production to grow to 11m barrels of oil a day before 2010 before falling to around 9m barrels a day by 2035 – a “significant upward revision” from last year, it said.

“Energy developments in the US 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.

Meanwhile, the agency predicted that global energy demand will increase as regional dynamics change, and will grow by more than a third by 2035. China, India and the Middle East will account for 60 per cent of the growth, and there will be a “pronounced shift towards gas and renewables”, it said.