Reports about the US shale oil boom being a game changer have proliferated after the November 2012's prediction by the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) that the United States will overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world's biggest oil producer by 2020 and energy self-sufficient by 2030. While such rosy predictions play well to the IEA's audience, which is largely American, they don't stand up to scrutiny. Still, it is clear that US shale resources might at some point play some role in non-OPEC supply prospects.
The paper will argue that US shale oil production would hardly make a dent in the global oil supplies as it would largely offset the decline in US conventional oil production. It will also argue that the US would never be able to overtake Saudi Arabia or Russia in oil production and would continue to be dependent on oil imports for the foreseeable future. The paper will conclude that the shale oil boom in the United States would not be easy to replicate in the rest of the world nor would it invalidate the peak oil concept.