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The Energy Information Administration previously released an early version of its Annual Energy Outlook 2014, which contains its analysts’ predictions on the future of the nation’s energy production and consumption until 2040. Given the uncertainties inherent in any projection of the energy market, however, data in the reference should not be viewed in isolation and should instead be compared to alternative projections.
Nonetheless, the projections for growth in the energy industry are nothing short of reassuring. The EIA traces how domestic oil production, strengthened by new shale developments in key areas like North Dakota and Texas, will continue to grow at roughly 0.8 million barrels per day until 2016. By then, EIA researchers predict that domestic production will reach 9.6 MM bbl/d, a historical high that was achieved only in 1970.
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However, nearly all of the growth in the oil sector is expected to come from shale oil. As for other conventional sources in the lower 48 states and Alaska, things are expected to remain static or in decline. Meanwhile, U.S. oil imports patter due to lowered consumption brought about by improvements in fuel efficiency and less driving.
The EIA projects natural gas production to increase by 56 percent between 2012 and 2040 to 37.6 trillion cu. ft. a year thanks to fracking. By mid 2030s, natural gas is expected to finally replace coal as the biggest source of U.S. electricity.
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Dr. Ali Ghalambor is the former director of the Energy Institute of the University of Louisiana and Head of the Department of Petroleum Engineering. Find more updates on the energy industry through this Twitter page.