The days of the United States being a major energy importer are slowly waning, and it may soon be our turn to become exporters to the world. The growing production of oil from shale has dramatically cut our reliance on foreign oil, we're slowly cutting back the use of coal at the same time China's demand grow, and with a growing supply of natural gas, we may soon be a major supplier of liquefied natural gas, or LNG.
The tables have turned
The change in our energy dynamic first occurred in the coal market, where just a few years ago China became a major importer and the U.S. a net exporter. Despite falling U.S. demand, firms like Peabody Energy
The U.S. has always had an abundant supply of natural gas, but until recently, the potential power of the U.S. has largely been trapped. That may be changing as shale is unlocked and the LNG market changes.
And the potential opportunity is huge. According to the Baker Institute, Asia accounts for 59% of the worldwide LNG demand, and demand for all energy sources continues to grow there. Unless China and other Asian markets are able to ramp up production more quickly than expected, LNG could be a boon for the U.S.'s energy future.
But the most surprising turnaround may be occurring where shale production and deepwater drilling has helped reduce our demand on foreign oil. In 2005, the U.S. imported 60.3% of the oil we used; in the first 10 months of 2011 that number fell to 45.6%. If we remove the oil we got from Canada, then the U.S. imports just 35% of our oil from the rest of the world.
The world's new energy powerhouse
If you haven't noticed until now, the U.S. is turning into a major energy power. As companies like Kodiak Oil & Gas
Fool contributor Travis Hoium does not have a position in any company mentioned. You can follow Travis on Twitter at @FlushDrawFool, check out his personal stock holdings or follow his CAPS picks at TMFFlushDraw.
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