(EnergyAsia, December 13 2012, Thursday) — ExxonMobil thinks energy independence would be too modest a goal for North America.

By 2025, the region will become a net energy exporter, radically altering the global energy landscape to create new opportunities for international trade and economic growth, predicts the US major in its latest “Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040.”

New technologies will help develop new sources of reliable and affordable energy as well as new uses to support economic growth, with North America leading the way.

Natural gas will be key, its global demand seen rising by about 65% through 2040 to surpass coal as the second most popular fuel after oil.

North America will account for 20% of global natural gas production through its application of new technology to exploit its vast shale and other unconventional sources. The abundance of shale-based oil and gas will become help revitalise old world energy-intensive industries such as energy, chemicals, steel and manufacturing.

“These resources will also create new opportunities for global trade with countries in Europe and the Asia Pacific region, which are reliant on international markets to meet domestic energy requirements. The changing landscape and resulting trade opportunities will continue to provide consumers with more choices, value, wealth and good jobs,” said ExxonMobil.

In its annual forecast, the US major said global energy demand will expand by about 35% between 2010 and 2040.

Future energy needs will be supported by more efficient energy-saving practices and technologies, increased use of less-carbon-intensive fuels such as natural gas, nuclear and renewables, and the development of unconventional energy sources that were previously inaccessible without technology advances.