Saudi media — as most international media — are running stories about the new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The report says that the US will overtake Saudi Arabia in oil production by 2017, five years from now. This Reuter’s story, run in Saudi Gazette, only hints at the possible ramifications of America’s becoming a net oil exporter by 2030 and ‘energy independent’ by 2035.

The report does not suggest that Saudi Arabia will decrease its production, far from it. But losing its place as the major producer will affect Saudi Arabia’s political position as well as its economy. The country very much needs to get a handle on its own domestic energy use lest it end up burning all it produces and being unable to export at all.

US to overtake KSA as top oil producer — IEA

LONDON — The United States will overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s top oil producer by 2017, the West’s energy agency said Monday, predicting Washington will come very close to achieving a previously unthinkable energy self-sufficiency.

The forecasts by the International Energy Agency (IEA), which advises large industrialized nations on energy policy, were in sharp contrast to previous IEA reports, which saw Saudi Arabia remaining the top producer until 2035.

“Energy developments in the United States are profound and their effect will be felt well beyond North America – and the energy sector,” the IEA said in its annual long-term report, giving one of the most optimistic forecasts for US energy production growth to date.

“The recent rebound in US oil and gas production, driven by upstream technologies that are unlocking light tight oil and shale gas resources, is spurring economic activity — with less expensive gas and electricity prices giving industry a competitive edge,” it added.

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