For the first time in almost 40 years, the U.S. has lost its top net oil importer position to China according to preliminary figures published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Although not set in stone yet, the news is considered by specialists as a “once-in-a-generation shift that will shake up the geopolitics of natural resources.” However, the energy market has to wait for further monthly figures before the swing can be confirmed. This is partly because taxes may have distorted estimates for December’s net oil imports, reports FT.com (subscription required).
Oil analysts believe that even if January reverses the shift, the U.S. is set to slip to the number two spot after China as the world’s top net oil importer later in 2013 or in early 2014, as the surge in domestic oil production on the back of the shale revolution reduces the need to import crude oil.
Key to the looming change is the U.S. latest oil production boom, fueled by new technologies and techniques —particularly fracking— that have allowed the country to extract oil from sources that was practically unreachable before.
According to EIA numbers, U.S. oil production is at its highest level in 20 years, with a 40% increase since 2008. At the same time the nation’s oil demand is at Read more…