The United States will by 2020 overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's largest oil producer, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Monday in its annual forecast of energy supply and demand.
The Paris-based IEA, which advises Western oil consumers, highlighted the "recent rebound in US oil and gas production, driven by upstream technologies that are unlocking light tight oil and shale gas resources."
The surge in output and more fuel efficient cars is reducing reliance on energy imports "to the extent that North America becomes a net oil exporter around 2030," the report predicted.
As North America becomes energy sufficient, the direction of the international oil trade will shift to Asia, putting the security of shipping routes from Middle East to Asia in focus, according to the agency.
In the meantime, Asia will continue to power the surge in global energy demand, which is expected to grow by over one-third by 2035, from 87.4 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2011 to 99.7 million bpd.
Oil prices will grow moderately, in tandem with demand. Crude oil will fetch around 125 dollars a barrel in real terms in 2035, up from around 108 dollars currently.
Improving energy efficiency would help dent the world's insatiable appetite for power, the IEA said. While many countries have announced ambitious targets on reducing energy consumption, the IEA found that progress to date had been "disappointingly slow."
That made it difficult to achieve targets on global warming.
The IEA warned that "the climate goal of limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius is becoming more difficult and more costly with each year that passes."
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