The recent boom in shale oil and natural gas production in the U.S., particularly in the Marcellus Shale region, may hold the key for the country to finally achieve energy independence, energy experts said. "Shale gas, the biggest energy innovation since the start of the new century, has turned what was an imminent shortage in the United States into what may be a hundred-year supply," wrote oil historian Daniel Yergin in his book, "The Quest." Consultancy PFC Energy believes that the U.S. will emerge as the world's top energy producer in eight years as a result of the shale boom.

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