Oil, gas balance shifting globally

May 9, 2012 at 9:52 AM

WASHINGTON, May 9 (UPI) -- The balance of power in terms of global oil and natural gas supplies is shifting to the Western Hemisphere, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns said.

Burns addressed delegates gathered in Washington for the 42nd annual Council of the Americas conference.

He said economies in Latin America and the Caribbean are expected to grow by more than 30 percent during the next five years.

"This helps to explain why the United States exports three times as much to Latin America than to China, and why we account for one-third of all foreign direct investment in the region," he said during his address.

The U.S. Geological Survey said of the 565 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable conventional oil, 126 billion barrels are in South America and the Caribbean.

Burns said the Western Hemisphere accounts for about 30 percent of the global natural gas supplies and nearly 25 percent of global crude oil reserves.

"The world's oil map is no longer centered predominantly on the Middle East, but increasingly on the Americas as well," he said.

Only about 20 percent of the oil imported into the United States comes from the Persian Gulf region.

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