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Annual Energy Outlook through 2050 Released by the US EIA

Report indicates the United States can become a net energy exporter.
Every year, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) releases modeled projections of domestic energy markets through 2050, based on assumptions in macroeconomic growth, global oil prices, technological advancements, and energy policies. This year’s report reference projections also includes a high oil and gas resource and technology scenario and a low oil and gas resource and technology scenario
Highlights of the Outlook reference projections include:
  • Gross domestic product (GDP) grows annual at a 2% rate with projected energy consumption growing at 0.4%/year, surpassing the 2007 peak by 2033.
  • The fuel mix of US consumption changes, with natural gas and nonhydroelectric renewables growing the most. The industrial sector reflects the most growth in natural gas consumption due to expanding use in the chemical industries, heat and power and liquefied natural gas production.
  • Energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reflect the energy consumption trends, and are essentially flat in the reference case. Due to the low cost of natural gas, it is being used more in the industrial and electric power sectors, CO2 emissions from natural gas are increased as coal usage decreases.
  • Natural gas accounts for the largest share of total energy production while nonhydroelectric renewables grow the most on a percentage basis. By 2050, 39% of US energy production will be from natural gas. In 2018, US crude oil production is projected to surpass the 9.6 million b/d set in 1970.
  • The US will be a net energy exporter by 2022. Historically and in the projections through 2050, the US remains a net importer of petroleum and other liquids. Regarding US natural gas trade, LNG exports to more distant locations than Canada and Mexico are projected.
  • Even with population and economic output per capita continue to rise, declines in energy intensity and carbon intensity mitigate emissions growth. The amount of energy used per unit of economic growth (energy intensity) has declined, while the amount of CO2 emissions associated with energy consumption (carbon intensity) has generally declined since 2008. These trends are projected to continue as energy efficiency, fuel economy improvements, and structural changes in the economy all lower energy intensity. Carbon intensity declines as a result of changes in the U.S. energy mix that reduce the consumption of carbon-intensive fuels and increase the use of low- or no-carbon fuels. By 2050, energy intensity and carbon intensity are 42% and 9% lower than their respective 2017 values in the Reference case, which assumes the laws and regulations currently in place.
  • While world oil prices play a role in the US crude oil and natural gas production, resource availability and technological improvements are more significant determinants of domestic production levels.
The Annual Energy Outlook 2018 provides a look at petroleum and natural gas separately as well as the various sectors’ roles in the outlook.