US to Achieve Energy Independence by 2020, EIA Says

By Michael Bastasch Published on January 24, 2019

The U.S. will become “energy independent” by 2020, according to a new Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecast released Thursday.

EIA projects American crude oil production will “set annual records through the mid-2020s and remains greater than 14.0 million barrels per day (b/d) through 2040” and the country will be a net exporter of petroleum liquids by 2020.

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The U.S. briefly achieved net petroleum exports in November, but that was temporary. However, EIA now predicts that to become a net petroleum exporter — crude oil, refined products and other liquids — by 2019.

Along with crude oil, EIA forecasts the U.S. to be a net-natural gas and coal exporter through 2050. Dry natural gas production is projected to climb as more drillers tap into resource-rich shale formations, particularly in the eastern and southwestern U.S.

“U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports and pipeline exports to Canada and to Mexico increase until 2030 and then flatten through 2050 as relatively low, stable natural gas prices make U.S. natural gas competitive in North American and global markets,” EIA reported.

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It’s good news for President Donald Trump’s “energy dominance” agenda. The administration has rolled back Obama-era energy regulations in hopes it would boost production.

For decades, U.S. energy independence proved an elusive goal. Lawmakers and presidents promised a variety of programs, including promoting green energy, would allow the U.S. to get off foreign oil.

Energy independence generally refers to the ability of the U.S. to meet its own energy needs with domestic production. Net energy exports means the U.S. is producing enough to meet its own needs and sell excess production abroad.

As recently as a decade ago, most experts assumed the U.S. would be increasingly reliant on oil and gas imports to meet its energy needs. The advent of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling changed the picture, a fact not lost on Steve Everley, spokesman for Texans for Natural Gas.

“One year ago, the U.S. Energy Department projected the U.S. would be a net energy exporter by 2022,” Everley tweeted. “That’s already outdated. Today, they announced net energy exporter status will happen next year.”


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