* Power generation fuels gas demand
* Natgas to account for more power generation
* N. American gas supply to spur global trade
Dec 11 Soaring oil and gas production will
propel North America into becoming a net energy exporter by
2025, Exxon Mobil Corp said in its annual energy
More than half of the growth in unconventional natural gas
supply over the next two decades will be in North America,
supplies that will help reshape global markets, Exxon said.
Improvements in drilling technology such as hydraulic
fracturing have unlocked vast shale oil and gas reserves,
leading to a surge in production and reduction in the United
States' dependence on foreign energy.
Exxon has invested heavily in U.S. natural gas assets in
recent years, beginning with its 2010 purchase of shale gas
operator XTO Energy. The Irving, Texas company is also investing
in the search for crude oil produced from rock formations, but
those supplies are so-far relatively small.
"It's still very much early days for tight oil," William
Colton, vice president for strategic planning at Exxon told
reporters on a media call.
In September, Exxon said it would buy Denbury Resources
Inc's crude oil properties in the Bakken shale in North Dakota
for $1.6 billion.
Growing supplies of North American natural gas are expected
to spur trade with countries in Asia and Europe, said Exxon.
Companies including Exxon have already lined up to get
permission to ship the country's cheap natural gas overseas. The
only gas export terminal approved by the United States so far is
Cheniere Energy Inc's Sabine Pass facility in Louisiana.
Natural gas, which emits up to 60 percent less carbon
dioxide than coal when used for electricity generation, is
expected to overtake coal by 2025 as the second most-used fuel,
according to the Exxon report.
Exxon expects natural gas, which has been one of its biggest
investment areas in recent years, to account for 30 percent of
global electricity generation by 2040 compared with less than 25
Power plants in the United States are already using less
coal as they switch to more efficient plants fired by natural
Exxon said developing nations such as India and China will
drive global energy demand, which is expected to increase 35
percent between 2010 and 2040.
Exxon's findings are similar to two recent reports from the
Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the International
Energy Agency (IEA).
The EIA said last Wednesday that U.S. natural gas production
would grow faster than expected through the next two decades,
paving the way for the country to be a net gas exporter as early
The IEA said last month that the United States will overtake
Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world's top oil producer by 2017
and North America will become a net oil exporter by 2030.