U.S. to unleash “major second wave” of fracking on the world

According to a leading global energy agency, U.S. natural gas is primed to unleash a “major second wave” of fracking.

In the last few years, the development and implementation of widespread fracking in the U.S. has produced billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas. This has led to a transformation in the global energy sector, and undercut fossil fuel markets in Saudi Arabia and Russia. Now, according to a leading global energy agency, U.S. natural gas is primed to unleash a “major second wave” of fracking, as reported in TIME.

In a new energy forecast this week, the International Energy Agency (IEA) announced that growth in U.S. oil production would cover 80% of new global demand for oil over the next three years. Overall, U.S. oil production is anticipated to rise almost 30% by 2023, with much of the growth coming from oil produced as a result of fracking in West Texas.

“Non-OPEC supply growth is very, very strong, which will change a lot of parameters of the oil market in the next years to come,” says Fatih Birol, the head of the IEA. “We are going to see a major second wave of U.S. shale production coming.”

Although Republican politicians and policymakers are seeking to take credit for this development, analysts say that the growth in U.S. production is more a result of market factors than Republican policy. According to the IEA, higher oil prices and increased demand from China and India will trigger increased U.S. output in order to make up the gap. Along with overall demand for oil, the IEA also predicts that demand for petrochemicals used in plastic will increase as well.

The implications that come as a result of this second rise in U.S. oil production are far ranging, and touch on more than just fossil fuel supply and demand. In terms of geopolitics, the U.S. supply of oil and natural gas has contributed to political upheaval in the Middle East and in Russia, creating new competition for oil exports and natural gas supply. “In a shale revolution world, no country is an island,” warns Birol. “Everyone will be affected.”

By Connor Ertz, Earth.com Staff Writer