America: The Next Energy Superpower?
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America: The Next Energy Superpower?

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From previously challenging the “tyranny of oil,” newly inaugurated U.S. President Barack Obama enters his second term in office as leader of a potential oil and gas superpower.

According to BP’s Energy Outlook 2030, unconventional sources will make the United States virtually energy self-sufficient by 2030, largely thanks to the shale gas revolution.

“The U.S. will likely surpass Russia and Saudi Arabia in 2013 as the largest  liquids producer in the world (crude and biofuels) due to tight oil and biofuels growth…. Russia will likely pass Saudi Arabia for the second slot in 2013 and hold that until 2023. Saudi Arabia regains the top oil producer slot by 2027,” the London-based oil and gas giant said.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has forecast that the nation could become a net exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as early as 2016, and a net exporter of total natural gas (including via pipelines) by 2020.

For the Asia-Pacific region, potential U.S. gas exports could undercut higher priced gas from Australia and elsewhere, resulting in lower fuel bills for major importers such as Japan and South Korea.

However, fast-growing China and India are expected to become even more reliant on imports to satisfy domestic demand, BP said in its report.

With the world’s population seen reaching 8.3 billion by 2030 and income doubling in real terms from 2011 levels, BP expects an additional 1.3 billion people will require energy. This will result in global energy demand being 36 percent higher in 2030 compared to 2011, with almost all growth (93 percent) coming from non-OECD economies.

The Asia-Pacific region will produce the most rapid growth in energy production, largely from coal, generating 35 percent of global energy production by 2030.

The report states that unconventional sources such as shale gas, tight oil, heavy oil and biofuels will transform the energy balance of the United States.

“By 2030, increasing production and moderating demand will result in the U.S. being 99 percent self-sufficient in net energy; in 2005 it was only 70 percent self-sufficient,” it said.

Production from unconventional sources will provide all the net growth in global oil supply to 2020, and more than 70 percent of the growth to 2030.

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