The U.S. apparently has more oil potential than previously thought. From the BBC:
The IEA said it expected the US to overtake Russia as the world’s biggest gas producer by 2015 and to become “all but self-sufficient” in its energy needs by about 2035.
The rise in US production means the world’s reliance on oil from traditional oil producing countries in the Middle East, which make up Opec (the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries), would end soon, according to the report.
Part of the reason is that OPEC’s investments and production have slowed due to political instability:
The IEA still expects production capacity among traditional Opec suppliers in the Middle East to continue to grow over the next five years, but at a slower rate.
Opec capacity, which counts for 35% of today’s global oil output, is expected to rise by 1.75 million bpd to 36.75 million bpd in 2018, about 750,000 bpd less than predicted in the IEA’s 2012 forecast.
The IEA cites the “growing insecurity in North and Sub-Saharan Africa” in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings as a key reason for the slowdown.
“The regional fallout from the ‘Arab Spring’ is taking a toll on investment and capacity growth,” the IEA said.
And in the category of “free market supporters have been saying this for years,” the use of fracking is a large part of this change of projections:
The sharp rise in US oil production is largely thanks to shale oil, a product many have hailed as the saviour of the US energy market.
Fracking, the process of blasting water at high pressure into shale rock to release oil (or gas) held within it, has become widespread in the US.
Once again, technology and ingenuity are providing massive economic and national security benefits to America. It’s long past time the nation reached energy independence, if only to make sure our security is intact – buying from certain Middle Eastern countries and Venezuela is not a good way to make that happen.