Projections show the potential to eliminate net US energy imports between 2020 and 2030, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook 2015 (AEO2015). The projections are based on continued growth in oil and natural gas production, growth in the use of renewables and the application of demand-side efficiency. This is the first time that US energy imports and exports have come into balance since the 1950s.
AEO2015 presents updated projections for US energy markets through 2040 based on six cases — reference, low and high economic growth, low and high oil price and high oil and gas resource — that reflect updated scenarios for future crude oil prices.
Other key findings from the report include the following:
- Net natural gas trade, including LNG exports, depends largely on the effects of resource levels and oil prices. The US transitions from being a net importer of natural gas to a net exporter by 2017 in all cases.
- Regional variations in domestic crude oil and natural gas production can force significant shifts in crude oil and natural gas flows between US regions, requiring investment in or realignment of pipelines and other midstream infrastructure. In most cases, Lower 48 crude oil production shows the strongest growth in the Dakotas/Rocky Mountains region, followed by the Southwest region. The strongest growth of natural gas production occurs in the East region, followed by the Gulf Coast onshore and the Dakotas/Rocky Mountains regions. Interregional flows to serve downstream markets vary significantly among the cases.
- US energy use grows at 0.3 percent annually from 2013 through 2040 in the reference case. Declines in energy use reflect the use of more energy-efficient technologies as well as the effect of existing policies that promote increased energy efficiency.
- Rising long-term natural gas prices, the high capital costs of new coal and nuclear generation capacity, state-level policies and cost reductions for renewable generation favor increased use of renewables.
Starting with AEO2015, EIA is adopting a two-year release cycle for the AEO, with a full edition of the AEO produced in alternating years and a shorter edition in the other years. AEO2015 is a shorter edition of the AEO.
AEO2014 predicted that total delivered energy consumption in the industrial sector would increase by 28 percent from 2012 to 2040, and that much of the growth would be from natural gas use.