The major impact of the US led shale gas revolution on the global energy markets is already a widely known fact, but another as important development - the shale oil revolution - is just around the corner:
We have discussed some of the shale oil prospects and their recent successes, but the story of US shale oil does not end there. There is, for example, the Green River Formation (mainly in Colorado and Utah). According to estimates from the USGS, this contains about 3 trillion (3,000 billion) barrels of oil, about half of which may be recoverable, depending on the available technology and economic conditions. Note that the US consumes about 7 billion barrels of oil per year.
If the United States is able to commercially exploit part of these resources and combine this with successfully exploiting conventional oil resources in new offshore prospects, it is quite possible for the country to substantially reduce its oil import dependency and perhaps even achieve self-sufficiency by 2035. According to rfigures from consultancy PFC Energy, oil companies are investing an estimated $25 billion this year to drill 5,000 new oil wells in tight rock fields in the US. Energy consultancy IHS CERA foresees that, based on production plans from industry, unconventional oil production could rise from about half a million barrels per day now to 3 million barrels per day in 2020. Daniel Yergin, chairman of IHS CERA, has said: "This is like adding another Venezuela or Kuwait by 2020, except these tight oil fields are in the United States."
To conclude, the potential of both conventional and unconventional oil production in the US is quite significant and one could expect that by 2035, if backed by sound policies, US oil import dependency would be substantially reduced. This means that crude oil meant for the US will look for other markets. If countries like China and India could also increase their oil production, substantial supplies would become available for the rest of the world.
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One thing is certain: The prospects for the US economy are excellent in the decades to come, providing that American politicians make the right decisions and allow all the good things to happen. The same possibilities are open to China, India and many other countries.