The U.S. is poised to overtake Russia as the world's single largest producer of oil and natural gas combined this year, a startling shift that is reshaping energy markets and eroding the clout of traditional petroleum-rich nations.Shale oil/gas contributes to the rise of U.S. production, but risks lie ahead:
Even optimists in the U.S. concede that the shale boom's longevity could hinge on commodity prices, government regulations and public support, the last of which is problematic. A poll last month by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that opposition to increased use of fracking rose to 49% from 38% in the previous six months.
Other risk factors: a global economic contraction would depress oil and gas prices, leading companies to slow production. And drilling in shale is expensive and more complex than conventional exploration, leading to concerns that a market downturn could take a large bite out of U.S. output.What is missing in the article is the geopolitical implications of the shift, especially during a economic contraction, which may bring down the shale production, but also hurt other producers, maybe even harder.