EIA Outlook: US Energy Use to Slow While Crude Production Rises
Energy consumption in the United States is expected to increase 0.3 percent a year between 2010 and 2035, a slower rate of growth than the two decades prior to the 2008 recession, while domestic oil production is forecast to rise, according to a recent government forecast.
The US Energy Information Administration said in its 2012 Annual Energy Outlook that the nation will not return to the levels of demand growth seen in previous years because of more moderate economic expansion and population rises, coupled with an increase in state and federal-backed programs that promote efficiency.
Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions will remain below 2005 levels through 2035 as renewable technologies and fuels grow, efficiency improves, electricity demand dampens and natural gas use increases, the EIA forecast in the report.
The 2012 energy outlook reference case shows energy-related CO2 emissions growing by just more than 2 percent through 2035 to a total of 5,758 million metric tons. This is slightly lower than initial projections released in January by the EIA.
Even if US demand softens as predicted, don’t expect the rest of the world to follow suit, said Dallas Kachan, industry analyst and managing partner of cleantech research and consulting firm Kachan & Co. Overall global demand for energy will continue to increase, driven by increasingly urbanized areas such as China, India and Africa, Kachan said.
Global consumption of liquid fuel, such as oil, natural gas liquids and condensates, is expected to grow 0.9 percent between 2010 and 2035, to 109.5 million barrels a day, the EIA said. Oil prices will reach $200 per barrel in 2035 due to increasing demand for petroleum and other liquid fuels in nations such as India and China, and lower global supply, the EIA forecast in the report.
Meanwhile, US production of crude and natural gas is expected to increase between 2010 and 2035, the EIA said. US crude oil production increased from 5 million barrels per day in 2008 to 5.5 million barrels per day in 2010. Over the next 10 years, continued development of tight oil combined with the ongoing development of offshore resources in the Gulf of Mexico will push domestic production even higher.
The 2012 annual energy outlook reference case projects US crude production could range between 5.5 million bpd and 7.8 million bpd by 2035. Tight oil production from eight selected plays could range from 0.7 million bpd to 2.8 million bpd by 2035, the EIA said.
Natural gas production, aided by a boom in shale gas, is expected to rise, which could ultimately allow the US to transition from a net importer to a net exporter of natural gas.
Shale gas production in the reference case increases from 5 trillion cubic feet per year in 2010 to 13.6 trillion cubic feet per year in 2035, which would make up 49 percent of total US dry gas production.
New technology breakthroughs are expected to make fracking – a technique used to release gas trapped in shale – more efficient in the future, while requiring less water and having less of an environmental impact, Kachan said.
“This is significant, as natural gas is expected to have a stronger future than ever, serving as a cleaner transition away from traditional fossil energy for power generation and transportation fuel,” Kachan said.
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