Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Report: U.S. will lead world in oil production, but only for 20 years

Beginning in 2015, the U.S. will be the world's top oil producer, but our reign on top will only last 20 years before the Middle East reclaims the crown, according to an annual outlook released Tuesday by the International Energy Agency, David Unger reports for The Christian Science Monitor. The current boom in hydraulic fracturing in the U.S. is why the nation "is expected to lead the world in oil production between 2015 and the early 2030s, according to IEA," Unger writes. (U.S. Energy Information Administration graphic)

After that, "U.S. oil imports will rapidly drop on increased production and greater consumer efficiency, pushing the country toward 'meeting all of its energy needs from domestic resources by 2035,'" Unger writes. "That's when the picture gets fuzzy. Some in the industry say that the shale oil and gas boom radically redefines how much oil and gas is recoverable across the globe. China leads the world in shale gas resources with an estimated 1,115 trillion cubic feet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Russia stands to dominate in supplies of oil from shale, with an estimated 75 billion barrels in technically recoverable resources. The key word is 'technically.' Shale resources are difficult and costly to extract, and many, including the IEA, do not expect the success in the US to be replicated elsewhere. While oil prices will continue to remain historically high, it won't be enough to compete with the Middle East's abundant supply of cheap, conventional oil."

The outlook states: "The Middle East, the only large source of low-cost oil, remains at the centre of the longer-term oil outlook. The role of OPEC countries in quenching the world’s thirst for oil is reduced temporarily over the next ten years by rising output from the United States, from oil sands in Canada, from deepwater production in Brazil and from natural gas liquids from all over the world. But, by the mid-2020s, non-OPEC production starts to fall back, and countries in the Middle East provide most of the increase in global supply." (Read more) (Market Place graphic)

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