The IEA, or International Energy Agency, is predicting that the United States of America will become a sustained net exporter of oil in 2020. This forecast by the IEA is based on information that was recently published in December of 2019.
It is worthwhile to note that the United States actually became a net exporter for a brief period of time in 2019. In September of 2019, the USA exported 89,000 more barrels of oil than it imported. A net exporter means that a country exports more oil than it imports. It does not mean that a country is energy independent and no longer needs to import energy from abroad.
According to the EIA, September of 2019 marked the first time the nation became a net oil exporter since 1973. That is a significant milestone that is likely to represent a larger trend of exporting more and more oil than the country imports.
It may be hard to fathom that only ten years ago, the United States was importing about 10 million more barrels of oil per day than it exported. New trade deals and the rise of fracking that has allowed shale deposits to be exploited has helped reduce the amount of oil the USA needs to import. In fact, the shale revolution and new trade deals are now expected to make the USA a consistent net oil exporter for many years to come.
How much energy is the United States producing, and how long will the net export status last? In 2011, the USA became the leading producer of natural gas in the world, overtaking Russia. 2018 saw the USA become the leading producer of oil in the world, overtaking Saudia Arabia. Expect the net exporter status to last well into the future if things stand the way they are now.
While the United States is the leader in energy production in both natural gas and oil, the country is still a long way from being energy independent. The nation still imports massive amounts of oil to meet its domestic needs. Still, the fact that the country is exporting more than it imports is a positive step towards greater energy independence and security.
We can expect the USA to continue to export more oil than it consumes, but don’t expect energy independence immediately.