The Annual Energy Outlook 2012 Reference case released today by the U.S. Energy Information Administration features updated projections for U.S. energy markets through 2035.
"Our updated reference case projections show natural gas and renewables gaining an increasing share of U.S. electric power generation, domestic crude oil and natural gas production growing, reliance on imported oil decreasing, U.S. natural gas production exceeding consumption, and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions remaining below their 2005 level through 2035," said EIA Acting Administrator Howard Gruenspecht.
These projections, he said, reflect increased energy efficiency, updated assessments of energy technologies and domestic energy resources, the influence of evolving consumer preferences, and projected slow economic growth.
Domestic crude oil production is expected to grow by more than 20% over the coming decade. Domestic crude production increased from 5.1 million barrels per day in 2007 to 5.5 million barrels per day in 2010. Over the next 10 years, continued development of tight oil combined with the development of offshore Gulf of Mexico resources are projected to push domestic crude oil production to 6.7 million barrels per day in 2020, a level not seen since 1994.
U.S. dependence on imported petroleum liquids declines in the EIA's projections, primarily as a result of growth in domestic oil production of over 1 million barrels per day by 2020, an increase in biofuel use of over 1 million barrels per day crude oil equivalent by 2024, and modest growth in transportation sector demand through 2035. Net petroleum imports as a share of total U.S. liquid fuels consumed drop from 49% in 2010 to 38% in 2020 and 36% in 2035, according to the EIA's projections.
In addition, U.S. production of natural gas is expected to exceed consumption early in the next decade. The United States is projected to become a net exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2016, a net pipeline exporter in 2025, and an overall net exporter of natural gas in 2021. The outlook reflects increased use of LNG in markets outside of North America, strong domestic natural gas production, reduced pipeline imports and increased pipeline exports, and relatively low natural gas prices in the United States compared to other global markets.
World oil prices rise in the EIA's projections, as pressure from growth in global demand continues. In 2035, the average real price of crude oil in the reference case is $146 per barrel in 2010 dollars.