Blogs » The nature of things » And they said it would never happen: U.S. to be top oil producer

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Once upon a time, the United States was the top oil producer in the world.

In fact, according to Dan Yergin's history of the oil industry, the U.S. got its place on the world stage because of all the oil gushing up out of the ground, providing power in both the literal and figurative sense.

However, the American oil industry went bust in the 1980s and then in the 1990s, and if you had talked to the big industry guys a few years ago, they'd have all told you that the U.S. would never come back as the top producer.

Well, according to areport issued by the International Energy Agency on Monday, the U.S. will be the biggest producer in the world, even overtaking the supernova of production also known as Saudi Arabia around 2020.

Even more impressive, the report predicts the U.S. will become a net exporter by 2030.

The report attributes this change in the tide of U.S. energy to advances in technology that have unlocked shale plays - like the Eagle Ford Shale play that is booming in our own backyard - along with increasing fuel efficiency standards.

The report warns, a la Bon Jovi, that "no country is an energy 'island'" and the U.S. can still be impacted by the rest of the world (because that's how the energy industry works) but we could actually stop importing and nobody ever thought that would happen.