Paris: The US would lead global oil producers by around 2020, outpacing Saudi Arabia, thanks to an "extraordinary growth in oil and natural gas output" in the world's largest crude consumer, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has said.
During the launch of the 2012 World Energy Outlook, the IEA pointed "energy developments in the US are profound and their effect will be felt well beyond North America and the energy sector", Xinhua reported Monday.
Rising energy output in the US "driven by upstream technologies that are unlocking light tight oil and shale gas resources will mean a sea-change in global energy flows", it predicted.
"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," according to Maria van der Hoeven, IEA's executive director.
The IEA report expected the US, almost self-sufficient in energy, to become the largest global oil producer overtaking Saudi Arabia by 2020 and to report continued fall in oil imports "to the extent that North America becomes a net oil exporter around 2030."
"North America emerges as a net oil exporter, accelerating the switch in direction of international oil trade, with almost 90 percent of Middle Eastern oil exports being drawn to Asia by 2035," according to the agency.