The EIA forecast: Oil and natural gas remain integral to the United States
- April 1, 2020: Vol. 7, Number 4

The EIA forecast: Oil and natural gas remain integral to the United States

by Mark Green

The federal government’s latest energy projections are out, and they portray a U.S. energy future that continues to be driven by natural gas and oil.

It’s a future noteworthy for continued production growth, greater efficiency, the United States as a net energy exporter and emissions progress. All are connected in various ways to shale reserves and safe, modern hydraulic fracturing — and at risk if fracking were banned as some have advocated.

Americans understand how far the United States has come in the past decade and a half, thanks to shale and hydraulic fracturing, helping advance the goal voiced by U.S. presidents since Jimmy Carter of seeing this country end its reliance on foreign energy. Indeed, in December the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) confirmed the United States as a net exporter of energy in total for the first time since the 1950s.

This is an historic sign of new U.S. global energy leadership, and it shouldn’t be thrown away with foolish policy choices.

In the EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2020, it forecasts the United States will continue to produce historically high levels of natural gas and crude oil. U.S. oil production will reach 14 million barrels per day by 2022 and will remain near that level through 2045. This production growth is directly tied to energy that’s developed from shale and other tight-rock formations. By 2050, tight oil produced with fracking will account for 73 percent of total U.S. oil production. Similarly, by 2050, natural gas developed from shale with fracking will account for 91 percent of total U.S. natural gas production.

The United States became a net natural gas exporter on an annual basis in 2017, exporting more natural gas than it imported in 2018 and last year. EIA projects U.S. liquefied natural gas exports to more distant destinations will increasingly dominate the U.S. natural gas trade, and the United States is projected to remain a net natural gas exporter through 2050.

In the electric power sector, CO2 emissions will decline through the 2020s largely because coal continues to decline as a fuel for generation. Emissions from the sector, with natural gas playing a leading role, will be relatively flat out to 2050.

Many of these data points underscore the reality of American global energy leadership. Again, this is leadership that would suffer a heavy blow if hydraulic fracturing were banned.


Mark Green writes for the American Petroleum Institute. Read the full article on the API website at this link:

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