LONDON—A shale oil boom means the U.S. will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's largest oil producer by 2020
, a Radical shift that could profoundly transform not just the world's energy supplies, but also its geopolitics, the International Energy Agency said Monday.
The assessment is in contrast with last year, when it envisioned Russia and Saudi Arabia vying for the top position.
"By around 2020, the United States is projected to become the largest global oil producer" and overtake Saudi Arabia for a time, the agency said. "The result is a continued fall in U.S. oil imports (currently at 20% of its needs) to the extent that North America becomes a net oil exporter around 2030."..."
This major shift will be driven by the Faster-than-expected development of hydrocarbon resources locked in shale and other tight rock that have just started to be unlocked by a new combination of technologies called hydraulic fracturing.
According to Washington's Energy Information Administration, U.S. oil production has increased 7% to 10.76 million barrels a day since the IEA's last outlook a year ago
. The agency's conclusions are partly backed by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which last week acknowledged for the first time that shale oil would significantly diminish its share of the U.S. market.".."