” The IEA report, World Energy Outlook 2012, concludes that in just a few years the United States will be so awash in domestically produced oil it will surpass Saudi Arabia in oil production. Moreover, by 2030 North America as a whole will become a net exporter of oil.
Revolutionary advances in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and horizontal drilling are making this dramatic turnaround possible, observes IEA. These technological advances have enabled energy companies to inexpensively unlock vast amounts of tight oil and natural gas in shale formations that were previously considered economically impractical for production. “
“The recent rebound in U.S. oil and gas production, driven by upstream technologies that are unlocking tight oil and shale gas resources, is spurring economic activity—with less expensive gas and electricity prices giving industry a competitive edge—and steadily changing the role of North America in global energy trade. By around 2020, the United States is projected to become the largest oil producer (overtaking Saudi Arabia until the mid-2020s) and starts to see the impact of new fuel efficiency measures in transport. The result is a continued fall in U.S. oil imports, to the extent that North America becomes a net oil exporter around 2030. This accelerates the switch in direction of international oil trade towards Asia, putting a focus on the security of the strategic routes that bring Middle East oil to Asian markets. The United States, which currently imports around 20 percent of its current energy needs, becomes all but self-sufficient in net terms—a dramatic reversal of the trend seen in most other energy-importing countries.”