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US will be world's top oil producer by 2017, IEA report says

US oil production will surpass Russia's and Saudi Arabia's by 2017, according to a new report.

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US President Barack Obama speaks at an oil and gas production fields on federal lands March 21, 2012 near Maljamar, NM. Obama spoke on expanding domestic oil and gas production. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

The US will be the world's top oil producer by 2020, the International Energy Agency announced in a new report

The report predicts that North America will be a net oil exporter by around 2030, and that the United States will be almost self-sufficient for its energy supply by 2035, according to Reuters

Though the IEA reports that "the world is still failing to put the global energy system onto a more sustainable path," it also found that US oil imports have steadily fallen.

“This striking conclusion confirms a lot of recent projections,” Michael Levi, senior fellow for energy and environment at the Council on Foreign Relations, told the New York Times, though he concedes that, like the report states, no country is an "energy island" immune from the fluctuations of global energy markets.

“You may be somewhat less vulnerable to price shocks and the US may be slightly more protected, but it doesn’t give you the energy independence some people claim,” Levi added. 

At least part of the growing US output is a result of new extraction techniques, such as fracking and horizontal drilling, the Financial Times reported.

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Fluctuations in energy production could cause geopolitical shifts, observers say.

"Some analysts have wondered whether an energy-independent US would still guard the world’s critical sea lanes such as the Strait of Hormuz in two decades’ time – and whether China, whose reliance on Middle East crude imports was growing, would replace it," noted the Financial Times. 

The IEA report also said that Saudi Arabia, which boasts the largest oil reserves on the planet, would return to the top producer spot by 2030, Reuters reported. 

The IEA was founded after the oil crisis of 1974, and works to guarantee that the global supply of energy is safe and sustainable. 

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business/energy/121112/us-worlds-top-oil-producer-2017-iea-report