Exxon Mobil Corp. predicts that North America will become a net exporter of oil and natural gas by 2020, according to the company’s 2015 Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040, released Tuesday.

Advances in technology mean there’s enough crude oil to satisfy demand for another 150 years, according to the study. To get an idea how far technology such as hydraulic fracking and horizontal drilling has come, in 1981, it was estimated that crude oil would run out in 60 years.

Irving-based Exxon says global demand for energy will increase 35 percent by 2040, driven by population growth and a global middle class.

Fossil fuels will continue to meet about 75 percent of the world’s energy needs through 2040, though renewable energy will grow by about 6 percent per year, according to the study.

That middle class will grow from 2 billion in 2010 to nearly 5 billion by 2030, or about half the world’s population. The majority of that growth comes from India and China.

Oil and natural gas liquids from shale will propel the United States toward being a net exporter, opening up new trade opportunities with Asia.

Unconventional shale drilling for natural gas will nearly triple by 2030 throughout North America. Exxon predicts North America could surpass the combined natural gas production from Russia and the Caspian region.

Demand for natural gas could increase 65 percent by 2040, even surpassing coal in global use.

Exports from Africa will decline as demand for oil grows in that region.

Other highlights of the report:

  • Energy for electricity generation accounts for half the demand growth
  • New hydraulic fracking technologies make it possible for oil and gas to meet 65 percent of global energy demand growth.
  • Oil will continue to be the number one energy source with demand increasing by 30 percent.