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Second Wave of U.S. Shale Revolution Is Coming, Says IEA

The Wall Street Journal

The U.S. is set to become a net petroleum exporter in two years, according to the International Energy Agency

LONDON—The U.S. is on track to become a net petroleum exporter by 2021 and will soon after surpass Russia and rival Saudi Arabia, currently the world’s largest oil exporter, the International Energy Agency said Monday.

The U.S. is expected to double its gross crude oil exports to 4.2 million barrels a day by 2024, while total exports of crude and refined products should reach 9 million barrels a day, the IEA said in its annual five-year oil outlook report.

U.S. crude production, driven by relentless growth in shale oil, is expected to account for 70% of the total increase in global production capacity over the next five years, the agency added. The report also said the U.S. should account for 75% of the expansion in liquefied natural gas trade.

“The second wave of the U.S. shale revolution is coming,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. “This will shake up international oil and gas trade flows, with profound implications for the geopolitics of energy.”

The use of hydraulic fracturing in the U.S. to drill for oil in shale rock, a process known as fracking, has dramatically reshaped the global oil industry over the past decade. It has allowed the U.S. to rival traditional producers like Russia and Saudi Arabia—the de facto head of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries—for market share.

Shale was largely behind the glut of American oil that flooded the market more than four years ago, leading oil prices to fall to $30 a barrel from more than a $100 a barrel in late 2014.

U.S. shale production in 2018 grew faster than it did during the boom years of 2011 to 2014, the IEA said last year.

The U.S. last year surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest producer of crude oil, with output currently hovering around 12 million barrels a day.

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