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The Boston Globe

Business

Effect on consumers unclear as US oil, gas production rise

For decades, Americans have had to shell out hundreds of billions of dollars each year to foreign oil and natural-gas suppliers, all the while enduring price swings, sudden supply shocks, increased trade deficits, and geopolitical entanglements over control of energy sources.

But consumers and businesses across the nation and Massachusetts are in the early stages of witnessing what the International Energy Agency calls a “dramatic reversal” of America’s energy fortunes: The United States is expected to become the world’s largest producer of natural gas by 2015, the world’s leading producer of oil by 2017, and nearly energy independent by 2035, according to recent IEA projections, thanks largely to the unlocking of huge domestic reserves of oil and gas found in shale rock.

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