NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

United States Could Become the World's Largest Energy Producer

January 30, 2013

America's growing energy production will have global impacts. Indeed, based on the evidence, the United States could become the world's largest energy producer within the next 20 years, says Anthony Fenson, a writer for The Diplomat.

  • Oil and gas company BP has estimated that due to unconventional sources the United States could be essentially self-sufficient by 2030 due in large part to the shale gas revolution.
  • The United States could become a liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter as early as 2016, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
  • BP expects that as the world population reaches a projected 8.3 billion people by 2030 and real income rises significantly, an additional 1.3 billion people will require energy. This will result in a 36 percent higher demand, with 93 percent of this increase originating from developing nations.

Future U.S. gas exports could have a substantial impact on the Asia-Pacific region, which currently imports much of its gas from Australia. Rapid Chinese and Indian growth will require significant energy imports to satisfy domestic demand in the future.

  • BP reports that by 2030 approximately 99 percent of America's energy needs will be met at home, compared with only 70 percent in 2005.
  • The U.S. shale gas boom has already lowered household energy bills by an estimated $1,000 per year and has triggered new industrial investments that have boosted the manufacturing sector.
  • Natural gas-fired power plants produce half as many emissions and will be necessary to reduce the impacts of the predicted heavy fossil fuel use that will likely lead to a forecasted 26 percent rise in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.
  • BP expects oil, gas and coal to comprise roughly one-quarter of the global energy market while non-fossil fuels like nuclear, hydro and renewables will make up approximately 7 percent of the market each.

Global energy production will continue to rise each year. Renewables will grow an anticipated 7.6 percent a year, fossil fuels at an estimated 2 percent per year, nuclear power by 2.6 percent a year and coal at 1.2 percent a year. With large oil reserves, increased production of biofuels and growing natural gas from shales, the United States is in an excellent position to remain an energy superpower for the foreseeable future.

Source: Anthony Fenson, "America: The Next Energy Superpower?" The Diplomat, January 23, 2013.


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