Photo credit: Paul Lowry / Foter / CC BY
The International Energy Agency released it's 2012 edition of the World Energy Outlook (WEO) from London today. Details of the report have implications for world energy markets and show a dramatic shift in production and supply.
The report finds that the U.S. will become a net exporter of both natural gas and crude oil by 2020 and nearly self-sufficient, in net energy terms, by 2035. The United States is expected to overtake Saudi Arabia in 2020 as the World's number one oil producer.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects global energy demand to increase by at least a third by 2035 with 60% of that growth coming from China, India and the Middle East. More Middle Eastern oil is expected to head that way and greater U.S. domestic supply will help suppress prices here at home and diminish our reliance on imports to meet our own energy needs.
"North America is at the forefront of a sweeping transformation in oil and gas production that will affect all regions of the world, yet the potential also exists for a similarly transformative shift in global energy efficiency," said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven. "This year's World Energy Outlook shows that by 2035, we can achieve energy savings equivalent to nearly a fifth of global demand in 2010. In other words, energy efficiency is just as important as unconstrained energy supply, and increased action on efficiency can serve as a unifying energy policy that brings multiple benefits."
The report stresses the need for greater global energy efficiency. IEA Chief Economist and WEO's lead author Fatih Birol warns that, "...in the absence of a concerted policy push it is likely that two-thirds of the economically viable potential to improve energy efficiency will remain unrealized through to 2035." That means that if global efforts do not improve, a great deal of potential efficiencies will go untapped.
With a solid domestic supply and a continued boom in production, the United States is on course to finally achieve energy independence by 2035. This should keep prices low in the U.S. and if energy efficiency can be spurred along globally in the meantime, the savings will increase.