Austin Mitchell walks away from an oil derrick outside Williston, N.D., in July 2011. North Dakota is now the No. 2 producer of oil in the U.S. behind Texas.
Austin Mitchell walks away from an oil derrick outside Williston, N.D., in July 2011. North Dakota is now the No. 2 producer of oil in the U.S. behind Texas. Gregory Bull/AP
By 2020, the United States will overtake Saudi Arabia to become the world's leading oil producer, the International Energy Agency says in a new report.
At the moment, the United States imports 20 percent of its energy. So this prediction is bold and points to "a dramatic reversal" for the U.S.
"The result is a continued fall in U.S. oil imports, to the extent that North America becomes a net oil exporter around 2030," the report finds. "This accelerates the switch in direction of international oil trade towards Asia, putting a focus on the security of the strategic routes that bring Middle East oil to Asian markets."
But the IEA warms "no country is an energy island." So if you were thinking that energy independence in 2030 would mean long road trips because of cheap gas, think again.
As NPR's Planet Money team explained in October, Canada is already energy independent but they are still paying four bucks a gallon for gas. Planet Money explains:
"Gas prices in Canada went up this summer just like they did in the United States. Prices in Canada are sensitive to conflict in the Middle East, or increased demand from China.
"There is a global market for oil. That means there is basically one price, whether you are a net exporter (Canada) or the world's biggest importer (the U.S.)."
The Los Angeles Times zeroes in on clean energy. It reports that the IEA projects that clean energy could threaten the supremacy of coal by 2035. The paper adds:
"That progression, however, "hinges critically on continued subsidies" for wind, solar and bio-fuel technologies, which last year amounted to some $88 billion and needs to reach $4.8 trillion through 2035, according to IEA.
"Even then, however, 'the world is still failing to put the global energy system onto a more sustainable path,' according to the report."