According to a recent IEA report, America is projected to become the world’s leading producer of oil by the end of the decade. At that point, the U.S. will have surpassed both Russia and Saudi Arabia for the title, finally dethroning these two giants from their perch with the help of fracking.
The report also said that by 2035, the nation will actually become self sufficient in energy product and will actually become a net exporter at that time. While at least part of this shift to becoming an exporter will be due to greater fuel efficiency and a lack of new energy demand, it still represents an incredible change that would have probably been unthinkable even just a few years ago.
While this prediction is incredibly encouraging both in terms of how it would allow us to both shift our foreign policy and create new jobs, one has to wonder how believable it really is. The entire forecast rests on the continued expansion of the shale oil industry, a relatively new and somewhat uncertain segment of the oil sector.
This is particularly true given how opposed many are to the fracking industry in general, and its continued expansion across the country. The technological process is now being blamed for everything from bad water to earthquakes so it seems hard to say—at least at this point—if fracking can really drive America into the energy driver seat once more.
Also, many of the forecasts predict at least a modest decline in both Saudi and Russian oil production by the end of the decade in order for the U.S. to beat out these energy superpowers, so how believable is that?
The bottom line is, do you buy into these predictions and think that the U.S. can become a global energy power once more thanks to continued exploitation of its oil and natural gas? Or do you believe that fracking is just a fad and that it will not be the economic game changer that many are billing it to be?
Personally, I am somewhat optimistic over the role of fracking in the natural gas and oil markets over the long term and I highlighted a few possible ETF picks for this revolution in a recent article.
But what about you? Which segments or stocks do you think could benefit from the revolution—or which will fizzle out if it doesn’t materialize?
Let us know in the comments below!