The Future Of US Energy In 4 Charts

Periodically the US Department of Energy publishes a long-term forecast on the state of energy fundamentals in the US. Their current projection looks as far out as 2040 (whatever that’s worth). Here are some key aspects of the forecast. The tight oil (see definition) contribution to US production is quite amazing. See some comments in brackets “[ ]”.

EIA: – 1. Crude oil production, especially from tight oil plays, rises sharply over the next decade. Domestic oil production will rise to 7.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2019, up from less than 6 million bpd in 2011.


Photo: EIA

2. Motor gasoline consumption will be less than previously estimated … reflecting the introduction of more stringent corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards. Growth in diesel fuel consumption will be moderated by the increased use of natural gas in heavy-duty vehicles. [this involves the use of compressed natural gas (CNG) in trucks, particularly municipal vehicles such as garbage trucks]

3. The United States becomes a net exporter of natural gas earlier than estimated a year ago. Because quickly rising natural gas production outpaces domestic consumption, the United States will become a net exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2016 and a net exporter of total natural gas (including via pipelines) in 2020. [nat gas production growth looks impressive]


4. Renewable fuel use grows at a much faster rate than fossil fuel use. The share of electricity generation from renewables grows to 16 per cent in 2040 from 13 per cent in 2011. [Here is the chart of the overall consumption forecast by fuel – note that this is not just for electricity, it’s total usage]


5. Net imports of energy decline. The decline reflects increased domestic production of both petroleum and natural gas, increased use of biofuels, and lower demand resulting from the adoption of new vehicle fuel efficiency standards and rising energy prices. The net import share of total U.S. energy consumption falls to 9 per cent in 2040 from 19 per cent in 2011.

[The chart below shows the production/consumption growth. Note that this is total energy, not just oil. The gap in oil is expected to drop from 45% in 2011 to 37% in 2040]


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