Davos: Countries Study US Energy Boom

From CBS News

By Constantine von Hoffman

Soaring domestic oil and gas production is helping the U.S. economy by lowering energy costs and cutting carbon emissions back to 1992 levels. The question, government officials and corporate executives asked today at a session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, is whether the new extraction technologies behind the North American energy boom can be replicated elsewhere.

Participants in the session included Robert Hormats, U.S. Undersecretary of State for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs; Fatih Birol, chief economist of the International Energy Agency; Majid Jafar, managing director of the board with United Arab Emirates firm Dana Gas; and Tulsi Tanti, chairman of Indian energy company Suzlon.

The U.S. and Canada are the first nations to have capitalized on new ways of getting oil and gas from shale and other dense rocks. The emergence of such methods is transforming the global energy picture. Notably, the combined oil production of the two nations now exceeds the maximum sustainable output of Saudi Arabia, with economic forecaster Yardeni Research predicting that trend to accelerate in the years to come.

Partly as a result of these energy extraction technologies, along with the severe recession that followed the 2008 housing crash, oil imports have dropped from 60 percent in 2005 to 42 percent today. America is already a large exporter of oil and will be a net exporter of natural gas by 2017, according British energy firm Centrica.

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