UPDATE 1-Exxon sees North America as energy exporter by 2025

Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:09pm EST
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* Power generation fuels gas demand

* Natgas to account for more power generation

* N. American gas supply to spur global trade

Dec 11 (Reuters) - Soaring oil and gas production will propel North America into becoming a net energy exporter by 2025, Exxon Mobil Corp said in its annual energy outlook.

More than half of the growth in unconventional natural gas supply over the next two decades will be in North America, supplies that will help reshape global markets, Exxon said.

Improvements in drilling technology such as hydraulic fracturing have unlocked vast shale oil and gas reserves, leading to a surge in production and reduction in the United States' dependence on foreign energy.

Exxon has invested heavily in U.S. natural gas assets in recent years, beginning with its 2010 purchase of shale gas operator XTO Energy. The Irving, Texas company is also investing in the search for crude oil produced from rock formations, but those supplies are so-far relatively small.

"It's still very much early days for tight oil," William Colton, vice president for strategic planning at Exxon told reporters on a media call.

In September, Exxon said it would buy Denbury Resources Inc's crude oil properties in the Bakken shale in North Dakota for $1.6 billion.   Continued...