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Commodities

Asia turns to US oil as shale producers open taps

South Korea boosts imports eightfold in bid to shrink trade surplus

A worker climbs onto a crude oil train at a transloading facility in the U.S. state of Wyoming. American innovation has let U.S. shale oil companies produce commercially even at prices of $50 a barrel or less.    © Reuters

TOKYO/NEW YORK -- Last year was a watershed in global energy markets, with the U.S. estimated to have overtaken Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world's largest crude oil producer for the first time in 45 years.

U.S. crude oil output has more than doubled in the past decade, led by shale oil, and exports to Asian nations are also rising. Asia has up to now relied heavily on the Middle East for its oil, but growing imports from the U.S. could profoundly alter energy geopolitics.

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