The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has released its ‘Annual Energy Outlook 2019’ (AEO2019), including a Reference case and six side cases designed to examine the robustness of key assumptions. The AEO2019 Reference case projects significant continued development of US shale and tight oil and natural gas resources, as well as continued growth in use of renewable resources.
The AEO2019 Reference case projects that in 2020, for the first time in almost 70 years, the US will export more energy than it imports, and will remain a net energy exporter through 2050. US energy export growth is driven largely by petroleum exports including crude oil and products, and by additional LNG exports. These trends have become clearly established, and the Reference case shows them continuing for the next few years, and then slowing and stabilising.
"The US has become the largest producer of crude oil in the world, and growth in domestic oil, natural gas, and renewable energy production is quickly establishing the US as a strong global energy producer for the foreseeable future" said EIA Administrator, Linda Capuano. "For example, the US produced almost 11 million bpd of crude oil in 2018, exceeding our previous 1970 record of 9.6 million bbl."
EIA's Reference case also highlights the impact of sustained low natural gas prices and declining costs of renewables on the electricity generation fuel mix. Natural gas will maintain its leading share of electricity generation and continue to grow, increasing from 34% in 2018 to 39% in 2050. The renewables share, including hydro, also increases from 18% in 2018 to 31% in 2050, driven largely by growth in wind and solar generation.
"The AEO highlights the increasing role of renewable energy in the US generation mix" said Capuano. "Solar and wind generation are driving much of the growth. In fact, our Reference case projects that renewables will grow to become a larger share of US electric generation than nuclear and coal in less than a decade."
The US will continue to see record high levels of oil and natural gas production
According to the AEO2019 Reference case, US crude oil production will continue to set annual records through the mid-2020s and remain greater than 14 million bpd through 2040. Continuing development of tight oil and shale gas resources will support growth in natural gas and natural gas plant liquid (NGPL) production, which will reach 6 million bpd by 2030, as well as the growth in dry natural gas production. Dry natural gas production will reach 43 trillion ft3 by 2050. NGPLs grow faster than other fossil fuels, and account for almost one-third of cumulative US liquids production during the projection to 2050.
US net exports of natural gas will continue to grow
In the Reference case, US LNG exports and pipeline exports to Canada and to Mexico increase until 2030 and then remain fairly constant through 2050 as relatively low, stable natural gas prices make US natural gas competitive in North American and global markets.
Increasing energy efficiency across end-use sectors will keep US energy consumption relatively stable
US energy consumption grows across all major end-use sectors in the Reference case, with electricity and natural gas consumption growing fastest. EIA's AEO2019 features a Reference case that includes the effects of current laws and regulations on the U.S. energy industry. As such, it can be used as a baseline in estimating the impact of potential policy changes in the future. The release also includes six side cases.
The Annual Energy Outlook 2019 is available here.
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