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A global energy chief said he foresees the United States becoming the "undisputed leader" in oil and gas production for "years to come."
Speaking at an event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, Fatih Birol, executive director for the International Energy Agency (IEA), said that the U.S. is primed to lead the world in oil and gas production.
"With all the implications, this is the most important transformation we're seeing within the oil and gas industry," Fatah said while rolling out the IEA's World Energy Outlook for 2017.
Birol, a noted expert in the energy sector, echoed similar comments earlier Tuesday at a Senate Energy and Resources Committee hearing. Speaking on Capitol Hill, Birol told senators that the country's anticipated energy production dominance will be a result of a "shale revolution."
"The U.S. is becoming the undisputed leader of oil and gas production worldwide," Birol said.
Birol went on to call the growth in oil production within the U.S. "unprecedented" for both its size and pace of growth and compared the increases to Saudi Arabia 50 years ago.
In terms of natural gas, Birol guessed that the U.S. would be the largest exporter of the fuel by 2020, adding that China will be the biggest customer.
However, Birol warned senators that China's increasing need for energy, as it winds down its own coal production, will lead the country to rival the U.S. for nuclear energy.