So long, Saudi Arabia. The U.S. is projected to be the biggest supplier of oil in the world this year when biofuels and natural gas liquids are taken into account, according to data released from PIRA Energy Group.
The growth in U.S. oil production has been rapid—it was just last year that the U.S. overtook Russia to claim the second place spot. Now, thanks to the shale oil boom, the U.S. has climbed above even the Middle Eastern oil empire of Saudi Arabia. And while both Saudi Arabia and the U.S. increased oil production in 2013, the U.S. ramped up production faster than the Saudis. According to a press release from PIRA, the U.S. oil "growth rate is greater than the sum of the growth of the next nine fastest growing countries combined and has covered most of the world's net demand growth over the past two years."
The U.S. still imports a lot of energy from Canada, Latin America, and the Middle East, as Circa points out. But the International Energy Association (IEA) believes that the U.S. will be completely energy independent by 2030.
The environmental consequences of energy independence are hard to predict, but based on what has happened in the past when the U.S. aims for hard-to-reach oil sources—like the BP oil disaster—they probably will be considerable.