U.S. production of shale oil and natural gas is projected to increase for decades, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Tuesday.
EIA issued the Annual Energy Outlook 2018 (AEO2018) on Tuesday, forecasting that liquids production (mostly crude oil and petroleum products) in the United States will begin to decline toward 2050 as less productive areas are developed.
The report includes projections of U.S. energy markets through 2050 based on a Reference case and six additional sensitivity cases.
The AEO2018 Reference case shows continued development of U.S. shale and tight oil and natural gas resources paired with modest energy consumption growth, leading to the transition of the United States from a net energy importer to a net energy exporter.
The United States has been a net energy importer since 1953, but the AEO2018 Reference case projects the United Sates will become a net energy exporter by 2022.
This transition occurs even earlier in some AEO2018 sensitivity cases that incorporate assumptions supporting larger growth in oil and natural gas production or that have higher oil prices.
In the High Oil and Gas Resource and Technology case, favorable geology and technological developments increase oil and natural gas supply, leading to higher energy exports.
In the High Oil Price case, before 2040, economic conditions are more favorable for oil producers, supporting higher levels of exports and lower domestic consumption than in the Reference case.
According to the AEO2018, some other predictions include: U.S. exports of oil and gas will decline after 2040 as a result of the lack of substantial improvements in technology.
The U.S. energy consumption will grow about 0.4 percent per year on average from 2017 to 2050, which is less than the rate of expected population growth of 0.6 percent per year.
Almost all new electricity generation capacity will be fueled by natural gas and renewables after 2022. Natural gas prices are projected to remain low levels until the very end of the projection period.
The costs associated with adding new renewable electricity generation capacity are expected to continue declining, especially for solar photovoltaic systems.