03:28 - Source: CNN
New age of U.S. prosperity?

Story highlights

Historian Niall Ferguson says America could be set for a new economic boom

Says production of natural gas and oil from shale formations will have enormous implications

International Energy Agency: U.S. to pass Saudi Arabia as world's biggest oil producer by end of decade

IEA says this could put Washington near energy independence within 20 years

Hong Kong CNN —  

If there’s been one consistent thread running through the U.S. economic story since 2008, it’s been the steady drumbeat of gloom.

Outright recession or sub-standard growth, stubbornly high unemployment and fiscal crises have been the topics du jour when it comes to the world’s biggest economy.

But now an unlikely champion for U.S. growth under the Obama administration has emerged – a former adviser to a Republican Party presidential candidate and Harvard history professor, Niall Ferguson, who says America could actually be heading toward a new economic “golden age.”

And it has nothing to do with Washington and everything to do with energy.

Read: Can natural gas live up to potential?

Ferguson, who is also an author and commentator, believes the production of natural gas and oil from shale formations via a process known as “fracking” – forcing open rocks by injecting fluid into cracks – will be a game changer.