By Anthony Bond
PUBLISHED: 13:27 EST, 13 November 2012 | UPDATED: 13:59 EST, 13 November 2012
The U.S. will become the world’s biggest oil producer before 2020 and will be energy independent 10 years later, it has been predicted.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) said that a resurgence in oil and gas production, coupled with improvements to the transport system, are gradually reshaping the energy market in the U.S.
By 2030, North America would be a net exporter of oil, the Paris-based IEA said.
The IEA, as reported by CNNMoney, said: ‘The United States, which currently imports around 20 per cent of its total energy needs, becomes all but self sufficient in net terms – a dramatic reversal of the trend seen in most other energy importing countries’.
The U.S. is currently enjoying a boost in its oil fortunes thanks to new technologies and high prices worldwide.
The new technologies include hydraulic fracking which make the extraction of oil and gas from shale rock commercially viable.
Figures from 2008 to 2011 show that U.S. crude oil production rose 14 per cent with natural gas production increasing 10 per cent over the same time.
The IEA says U.S. natural gas prices will jump from this year’s figure of $3.5 per million British thermal units to $5.5 per MBtu in 2020.
‘In our projections, 93 per cent of the natural gas produced in the United States remains available to meet domestic demand,’ it said.
‘Exports on the scale that we project would not play a large role in domestic price setting.’
It is expected this boost in North America’s oil production will lead to a change in the direction of international oil trade towards Asia.
Global energy demand is expected to increase by more than a third by 2035 – with much of the growth coming from India, China and the Middle East.
World average oil import prices could then be pushed up to $125 per barrel by 2035 – compared to $100 per barrel currently.