Nearly two-thirds of U.S energy executives now believe the United States can reach energy independence by 2030, eliminating dependency on foreign oil. This conclusion comes from the 11th annual Energy Industry Outlook Survey conducted by the KPMG Global Energy Institute, an audit, tax and advisory firm. Results also indicated a 10 percent decrease in executives who previously believed the United States would never attain energy independence.


“Increased domestic production, particularly from shale assets, is having a profound impact on the global energy sector, introducing new sources to the energy matrix,” said John Kunasek, at KPMG. “This ‘shale gale’ is certainly contributing to the increased optimism among energy executives on the potential for U.S. energy independence and driving large investments into the development and production from these shale assets, including ‘Greenfield’ investment plays.” Greenfield investments create new business facilities where none previously existed.


The annual energy survey polled more than 100 senior executives in the United States, representing global energy companies. Sixty-two percent of respondents think the United States can attain energy independence by 2030, up from 52 percent in last year’s survey. Of that 62 percent, 23 percent think energy independence is possible by as soon as 2020. Additionally, the percentage of executives who believe that U.S. energy independence will never happen dropped by 10 percent, from 27 percent in 2012 to 17 percent in 2013.


Given the potential of shale development, energy executives appear more confident about relative price stability. Seventy-three percent are bullish that the price of natural gas will remain steady at between $3.01 to 4.00 per million metric British thermal units for the remainder of the year, while 39 percent expect Brent crude oil will peak at $116 to $125 per barrel in 2013.


Seventy-nine percent agreed that the energy industry’s emphasis in developing environmentally friendly technologies should focus on natural gas, followed by nuclear (39 percent), solar (33 percent), and clean coal technologies (32 percent). That indicates a slight shift away from the total bullishness around natural gas seen in the 2012 results to a more balanced view, with solar and wind technologies making gains.


Additionally, 62 percent of energy executives indicate the low natural gas environment in the United States will lead to resurgence in manufacturing and economic growth. When asked which region of the country will benefit the most from this resurgence, 36 percent of respondents indicated the Northeast, followed by the Midwest (22 percent), Southwest (17 percent) and the South (16 percent).