Nov 14, 2017 - Energy & Environment

Shale's current trajectory could rival Saudi oil by 2025

Here's one way to think about the scope of the U.S. shale oil boom — by 2025 it could rival Saudi Arabia's ramp up decades ago as "the greatest increase seen over a sustained period in the industry's history," according to the IEA. Their new World Energy Outlook released last night seeks to put the U.S. oil and natural gas boom in historical context.

Reproduced from IEA World Energy Outlook 2017, OECD/IEA
Reproduced from IEA World Energy Outlook 2017, OECD/IEA

Check out the chart above: The baseline forecast for an eight million barrels per day rise in U.S. shale oil production from 2010-2025 "would match the largest sustained rise in production ever seen in an individual country, which was in Saudi Arabia from the late 1960s to the 1980s."

Why it matters: The comparison puts the growing leverage of the U.S. in global crude oil markets into stark relief and helps explain why Saudi Arabia and other OPEC producers are struggling with how to adapt to the re-emergence of the U.S. as a key petro-state.

Don't forget about gas: "For natural gas...the rise in US shale gas projected from 2008 to 2023 would exceed the growth in gas output in the Soviet Union between 1974 and 1989: this was the period when the gigantic gas finds of Western Siberia, Urengoy and Yamburg, were developed for the domestic market and for export to Europe."

Big picture: The U.S. is already a net exporter of natural gas, and is poised to become the world's largest LNG exporter by the mid-2020s, IEA forecasts. The U.S. is poised to become a net oil exporter by the late 2020s. Bloomberg looks at the IEA's projections for the U.S. here.

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