The EIA projected that domestic oil production would increase by an average of 800,000 barrels a day annually through 2016, nearly reaching the 1970 historic high of 9.6 million barrels a day. The increase in domestic oil production should bring the imported share of oil supplies down to 25 percent in 2016 from the current 37 percent. Just a few years ago, the country imported half of its oil supplies.
The EIA projects the world oil benchmark price over the next few years to $92 a barrel in 2017 from a 2012 average of $112 a barrel, which should translate into lower prices at the pump for consumers.
According to a separate report by the International Energy Agency, global consumption of coal is likely to continue to grow at “a relentless pace” through 2018.
The IEA projects the consumption of coal for electricity generation and heat accounted for more than three-fifths of the rise in global carbon dioxide emissions since 2000. Coal use increased by an average of 3.4 percent per year from 2007 to 2012, faster than the increase in either oil or natural gas. Consumption through 2018 is expected to increase by 2.3 percent a year, the I.E.A. said.
The agency, which represents 28 member countries, said that technology existed to make coal-fired power plants less polluting, but that a large proportion of the installations being built in emerging markets like India and Indonesia were inefficient. Using efficient technologies at these Asian plants would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by as much as all the wind turbines in Europe, the agency said.
Oil production in North Dakota and Texas is expanding so rapidly that a glut of certain higher grades of oil has already developed in the Midwest and Gulf States. That glut is beginning to stir a debate in Washington over whether the Obama administration should reverse a policy of banning most exports of oil that goes back to the 1970s.
The federal agency also concluded that natural gas would overtake coal as the most important source of domestic electric power generation in the years ahead. It predicted that by 2040, natural gas would account for 35 percent of total generation, while coal would account for 32 percent. At present, coal provides about 40 percent of electricity, while natural gas accounts for about 30 percent of electricity generation.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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