North American oil production has been on an impressive streak in recent years, and studies predict that it will reach a remarkable milestone within a few years. According to a long-term analysis of global energy trends by Wood Mackenzie, production in North America is expected to outpace that of the Middle East by 4:1 by the year 2020.
"The growth in North American supply has introduced a new dynamic to global oil prices, with US tight oil providing a price floor for global oil prices," Ann-Louise Hittle, head of macro oils research for Wood Mackenzie, said in a press release. "Increasing US tight oil supplies and Canada's growth in oil sands production are expected to continue to add stability to the international oil market, rather than remove it."
This is a stark change from just a few years ago, when it was generally believed that the oil market depended on productivity in the Middle East. Now that tensions in that region are heating up again, North America appears to have arrived just in time to calm the market.
In addition, natural gas production is predicted to increase sharply during the next few years. Wood Mackenzie estimated that North American gas production will double by 2030. As the price of gas continues to fall, it will likely continue to supplant coal as a major energy source.
Demand for energy has not abated, and new techniques have allowed petrochemical companies to meet this need. However, as drilling increases across North America, it is important for companies to work with environmental consultants to ensure that the impact to the surrounding areas is kept to a minimum.