In a review of the latest report on world energy supplies from the international energy consulting firm IHS, Inc., writers at Yahoo.com were quick to point out several of the impacts likely to be felt as the United States becomes the number one producer of energy in the world by 2017. Fracking is the prime driver of the Umited States' resurgence, and it is bending, changing, questioning, and even replacing many assumptions about the future.
For instance, with the decrease in the cost of natural gas, coal producers are finding more profitable markets overseas, especially Europe and Asia. Ports originally designed to accept imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) are being retrofitted to handle exports instead. Households are enjoying, and will continue to enjoy, decreased costs of food and energy, while employment in the energy sector continues to accelerate. New regulations attacking new coal-fired plants may become largely irrelevant, along with concerns about greenhouse emissions.
According to the IHS study, the average American household saved $1,200 just in energy and food costs, with those savings expected to exceed $3,500 a year by 2025. America’s trade position will improve greatly as well, owing to lower reliance on imported energy and increased exports of oil and gas. Nearly half a million jobs are currently being supported by the energy industry today, and that number is expected to double in the next 10 years. These jobs indirectly supports two million jobs currently, with a similar doubling anticipated by 2025.
As Olivier Appert, head of the French institute for oil and new energies, stated: “The fact that the United States is set to become the top oil producer … ahead of Saudi Arabia, changes everything.”
Indeed it does. In 2008, the United States spent $335 billion importing oil for domestic consumption. In 2020, that bill is expected to be cut in half, to $160 billion. China, on the other hand, is expected to spend $500 billion on oil imports by 2020 as its efforts to develop its own shale oil reserves (estimated to be even larger than those in the United States) have faltered.
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