LONDON Nov 12 The United States will overtake
Saudi Arabia as the world's top oil producer by 2017, the West's
energy agency said on Monday as a steep rise in shale oil and
gas production pushes the country toward self-sufficiency in
The International Energy Agency (IEA), which advises major
industrialised nations on energy policies, gave the estimates in
an annual long-term report. Its conclusions were in sharp
contrast with its 2011 report, which saw Saudi Arabia remaining
the top producer throughout 2035.
"Energy developments in the United States are profound and
their effect will be felt well beyond North America - and the
energy sector," the IEA said.
"The recent rebound in U.S. oil and gas production, driven
by upstream technologies that are unlocking light tight oil and
shale gas resources, is spurring economic activity - with less
expensive gas and electricity prices giving industry a
competitive edge," it added.
The IEA said it saw a continued fall in U.S. oil imports
with North America becoming a net oil exporter by around 2030.
IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol told a news conference in
London he believed the United States would overtake Russia as
the biggest gas producer by a significant margin by 2015.
Shortly after that, by 2017, the United States would become the
largest oil producer, he said.