By TOM FOWLER
North America will become a net energy exporter by 2025, thanks
to a surge in oil and gas production and rapid improvements in
energy efficiency, ExxonMobil predicts in its latest long-term
The closely watched annual forecast of energy trends, set to
be released Tuesday, concludes the growth of US and Canadian
oil and gas
production has staying power and could lead to more
international shipments of oil and gas, said Bill Colton,
Exxon's vice president of corporate strategic planning, who led
Exxon's forecast follows similar estimates by the US Energy
Information Administration and the International Energy Agency,
which have recently predicted North America will produce more
energy than it uses in just a few decades, a shift with
geopolitical as well as economic ramifications.
Exxon predicts that an anticipated decline in coal usage by
power plants will accelerate as more efficient
natural-gas-fired plants are built. The Irving, Texas, company
forecasts coal use will drop 33% from 2010 to
2025,substantially more than its previous 23% estimate.
"The economics of natural
gas in the power-generating sector continue to look even
better over time," Mr. Colton said.
The US is in the midst of a renaissance of oil and gas
production thanks to a combination of technologies,
including hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, which
are unlocking deposits trapped in shale formations throughout
Daily US oil production reached a 15-year high in September,
according to the EIA, and is expected to keep climbing. US
production will outpace the nation's demand by 2020, the
EIA said last week.
Growing production from Canada's oil-sands region, much of
it exported to the US, and the continued growth of deep-water
Gulf of Mexico production is also bolstering forecasts.
The net energy exports forecast for North America by Exxon
don't mean the US would be energy independent, however, as it
will still rely heavily on Canadian crude production, Mr.
Global energy demand will increase 35% from 2010 to 2040,
with most of the increased demand coming from developing
nations like India and China, the Exxon report
Developed regions like the US, Canada and Europe will see
their demand flat or declining as they become more efficient,
the company said.
The Wall Street Journal (via Dow Jones