With overall gas production outstripping domestic consumption, the Energy Industry Administration (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook 2013 now predicts the US will become a net exporter of gas in 2020, with liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports commencing as early as 2016.

According to research agency IHS, production of unconventional oil will also rapidly overhaul production of conventional oil in the US by 2015. IHS Global Insight estimates unconventional production will account for two-thirds of US crude and condensate production by 2020.

Unconventional gas production will create 1.3 million additional jobs by 2020, contributing $416bn to the US economy. The US Treasury is also in line for a windfall: with no additional tax-breaks, government revenue from unconventional gas will rise from $49bn in 2015, to over $85bn in 2035, the IHS research says.

With President Obama promising to reduce red tape and speed up oil and gas permitting, America’s self-sufficiency in natural gas looks set to make a profound impact both for its domestic market and across the globe.

Price-setting in the international LNG market will also change. Davis Thames, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Cheniere Energy Inc. reports that LNG projects are already impacted by a desire to shift away from oil-indexation, with purchasers hoping to fix LNG prices on the US market’s Henry Hub pricing point.

The overall effect will be a sustained rise in LNG’s share of market. Thames predicts gas exports from the US will spur an annual 3.5% rise in LNG volumes, from 300 million tonnes in 2015 to 500 million tonnes in 2030.

According to Jay Copan, Executive Director of the 17th International Conference and Exhibition on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG 17) and Senior Advisor to the American Gas Association, this will propel LNG’s share of the overall gas supply market from nine percent in 2010 to 15% in 2030.

Will other countries join the dash for unconventional gas? Not so fast, say industry commentators. US companies have 30 years’ experience in horizontal drilling techniques, and the country’s geology is comprehensively mapped. Countries like China, with potentially huge reserves, may take a while to replicate US expertise in hydraulic fracturing. Even if they do, water scarcity around the gas fields of the country’s north and far west may constrain production.

Australia’s coalbed methane – LNG project pipeline is likely to propel the county right to the LNG exporters’ top-spot. All other things being equal, Australia will overtake Qatar with a projected LNG export volume of 80 million tonnes per year by 2020.

Issues surrounding Unconventional Gas as a Resource for LNG will be presented at LNG 17, taking place from the 16th to the 19th of April 2013 in Houston, Texas, which will set the stage for the future dynamics of the industry.

In addition to in-depth technical presentations, there will also be strategic discussions surrounding the Globalisation of LNG and Emerging Markets: Drivers and Obstacles, as well as many others.