The International Energy Agency once forecasted that the U.S. will become the biggest oil producer in the world by around 2020.
The International Energy Agency once forecasted that the U.S. will become the biggest oil producer in the world by around 2020. - 
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The International Energy Agency is forecasting that the U.S. -- not Saudi Arabia, not Russia -- will become the biggest oil producer in the world by around 2020 in a new report out this morning. By 2030, the agency expects the U.S. will be a net exporter of oil.

"We've seen the boom in shale-oil production, which is bringing the U.S. back to this position it once had many decades ago," says Samuel Ciszuk, an oil supply consultant at KBC Energy Economics in London. Ciszuk notes that alternative energies are also on track to grow, spurred on by legislation to raise environmental standards in fuels.

While the projected growth in energy supply won't be enough to support full independence, it may allow the U.S. to rely less on the Middle East and other foreign suppliers.

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Follow Jeff Horwich at @jeffhorwich