EIA Issues Early Release Summary of Annual Energy Outlook

Yesterday, the U.S. Energy Information Association (EIA) issued the 2012 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO2012) Early Release Reference case, which provides updated projections for U.S. energy markets through 2035 (a copy is embedded below). This Early Release Overview assumes no changes in current laws and regulations and is the prelude to the full AEO due out this spring. The AEO provides a comprehensive snapshot of the entire energy picture for the U.S. in particular, but in the wider context of world energy supplies. It is relied on by the government, politicians and the energy industry.

Among the observations and predictions in the Early Release for natural gas:

  • Natural gas production in the U.S. from 2010 to 2035 will be 7% higher than predicted last year, mostly because of shale gas.
  • Estimated supplies of recoverable shale gas in the U.S. has been revised down to 482 trillion cubic feet. Last year the estimate was 827 trillion cubic feet. Why? The decline largely reflects a decrease in the estimate for the Marcellus shale, from 410 trillion cubic feet to 141 trillion cubic feet. EIA says there is more and better data today than there was just a year ago, making their new estimate of supplies more accurate.
  • The daily production rate of shale gas from the Marcellus more than doubled in 2011 from 2010.
  • The U.S. will become a net exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) starting in 2016. LNG exports are assumed to start with a capacity of 1.1 billion cubic feet per day in 2016 and increase by an additional 1.1 billion cubic feet per day in 2019.
  • Pipeline imports of natural gas from Canada and Mexico are being revised down by 50% from last year’s estimates.
  • The U.S. will become a pipeline exporter of natural gas to Canada and Mexico by 2025.

Other key findings of the report:

  • Domestic crude oil production is expected to grow by more than 20 percent over the coming decade.
  • Use of renewable fuels and natural gas for electric power generation rises.
  • Total U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions remain below their 2005 level through 2035.