The United States will knock off Saudi Arabia as the world's top energy producer by 2015, but its power as a global energy force will fade over the next decade, according to a report from the International Energy Agency.
Massive investment in the production of shale gas has driven the U.S. supply boom, thanks in large part to new technologies such as hydraulic fracking, which has made the extraction of oil and gas from shale rock commercially viable.
But limited reserves will cap the surge in shale oil output within the next 10 years.
"Shale oil is good news for the U.S, but we do not expect this trend will continue after the 2020s," IEA chief economist Fatih Birol told reporters Tuesday, at the launch of the 2013 World Energy Outlook in London.
That will translate into an increase in OPEC producers' share of global output since those nations would remain the only large source of relatively low cost oil.
"Middle East oil is crucial to the global oil industry today, and also tomorrow," Birol said.