Energy Outlook

By Isaac Cohen*

Today’s energy map is undergoing profound changes, particularly because of the production of shale and tight oil and gas in North Dakota and Texas.

In 2010, with 5 percent of the world’s population, the United States consumed 19 percent of world energy production. In that same year, with 20 percent of the world’s population, China surpassed the United States as the main consumer, with slightly more than 20 percent of world energy consumption.

According to the Energy Information Administration from the Energy Department, by the end of this year, US oil production will reach over 8 million barrels per day (bpd), a figure not seen since 1988. Also, in 2013, the production of shale gas increased by 1 percent, to 66.5 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d), from 65 bcf/d in 2012, after increases of 5 percent in 2012 and 7 percent in 2011.

Projecting these increased levels of production into the future, by 2020, the United States can become a net exporter of both oil and gas. In the last issue of the magazine Foreign Affairs, Edward L. Morse, head of commodities  research at Citi Bank projects that, after a negative oil trade balance in 2011 of $354 billion, the United States will have a positive balance of $5 billion in 2020. The same in natural gas, after a negative trade balance of $8 billion in 2013, balance will be positive by $14 billion in 2020.

*International analyst and consultant. Commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio. Former Director, UNECLAC.   

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