U.S. energy imports projected to significantly decline over next two years

U.S. energy imports projected to significantly decline over next two years

Data analyzed by the Energy Information Administration projects that U.S. oil and natural gas imports will fall significantly over the next two years due to increased domestic production largely from shale formations, with U.S. liquid fuels net imports as a share of consumption forecast to decline from a high of 60% in 2005, and about 40% in 2012, to about 25% by 2016. The nation is also projected to become a net exporter of natural gas by 2018, the agency added.

In a preview of the EIA’s 2014 Annual Energy Outlook, which is due for full publication later this spring, the agency also projects that other major economies are likely to become increasingly reliant on imported liquid fuels and natural gas, with China, India, and Europe each expected to import at least 65% of their oil and 35% of their natural gas by 2020—becoming more like Japan, which relies on imports for more than 95% of its oil and gas consumption.

By contrast, for the U.S. the agency said the net import share of total U.S. energy consumption will reach 4% in 2040, compared with 16% in 2012 and about 30% in 2005. That is due to higher domestic production of crude oil, EIA stressed, which is predicted to increase from 6.5 million barrels per day (Mb/d) in 2012 to 9.6 Mb/d in 2019. Despite a decline after 2019, U.S. crude oil production is forecast to remain at or above about 7.5 Mb/d through 2040.

On a different topic, fuel prices continued to stick to a downward slope, according to data tracked by EIA, though pricing does not yet reflect the impact of the Arctic cold snap that affected much of the Midwest and Northeast this week.

The U.S. average retail pump price for diesel dropped 1.3 cents to $3.873 per gallon, which is 2.9 cents per gallon cheaper compared to the same week in 2013, EIA reported.

Diesel prices increased in only three areas of the country: The East Coast (up 6/10ths of a penny to $3.946 per gallon), New England (up 1.1 cents to $4.118) and the Central Atlantic (up 1.5 cents to $4.060). Prices declined in every other region with the biggest drops registered in California (a 2.9 cent decline to $4.056 per gallon) and the West Coast (a 3 cent decline to $3.966, which drops to $3.861 with California’s prices removed from the mix).

Average national U.S. retail pump prices for gasoline also declined this week – dropping 3.1 cents to $3.296 per gallon, down 1.9 cents per gallon compared to the same week in 2013 – while also falling in every region of the country, EIA reported.

The biggest one-week drop in gasoline prices occurred in the Midwest, the agency said, registering a 5.3 cent drop to $3.20 per gallon. The others were: New England (a 4 cent drop to $3.49 per gallon), the Central Atlantic (a 4.1 cent decline to $3.459) and the West Coast (3.4 cents to $3.492).

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