EIA predicting US oil imports could be reduced to zero by 2037
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) is now projecting US crude oil imports could be reduced to zero as early as 2037. The EIA has revised their domestic production forecast citing strong production from the North Dakota Bakken field and the Texas Eagle Ford formation.
Critics of the EIA report are quick to point out that forecasting oil production over the next 20 years is more art than science. No less than 6 years ago, world oil production was declining rapidly and the US was a net importer of natural gas. Advances in technology such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have dramatically changed the face of US energy. The EIA points out that under the best-case scenario, the US could produce up to 13 million barrels/day in 20 years, achieving energy independence. However, this assumes the following factors:
- Crude oil consumption continues its slow decline, as vehicles become more efficient and the use of alternative fuels (such as natural gas and biofuels) continues to rise
- Horizontal drilling productivity continues to improve and becomes more efficient
- Crude prices remain relatively high, ensuring that crude production from unconventional deposits remain economically viable.
In 2013, the US imported about 40% of its crude oil. Canada and Saudi Arabia are the largest sources of US imports, accounting for almost 50% of imported crude. Imports from Mexico, Venezuela and Russia have been significantly reduced in recent years and continue to decline rapidly.