oil and gas

U.S. Projected to Become a Net Energy Exporter, Thanks to Shale Boom

As the ongoing shale boom continues to bolster production in the oil and gas industry, experts are predicting that the U.S. will become a net energy exporter within 15 years — the first time the country has managed to do so in its history.

Since the 1950s, the U.S. has been a net importer of energy, meaning it has primarily relied on imports of oil and natural gas. As a net energy exporter, its exports will exceed imports.

According to an April 15 State Impact Pennsylvania article, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) made these predictions in its recently-released Annual Energy Outlook, which states that advanced technologies for drill rigs will continue to reshape the country’s economy and make it increasingly energy-independent.

“With continued growth in oil and natural gas production, growth in the use of renewables, and the application of demand-side efficiencies, the projections show the potential to eliminate net U.S. energy imports in the 2020 to 2030 timeframe,” EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski said in a statement.

By 2025, the EIA predicts the U.S. will produce 10.3 million barrels of crude oil a day, up from last year’s forecast which estimated 9 million barrels a day for the same year. Currently, experts predict there are enough oil reserves on hand to meet another 53.3 years of production worldwide. The EIA’s predictions don’t take into account any possible changes in the law that bans most exports of crude oil.

The shale boom is largely spurred by advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, which have made it possible to access rich oil and gas supplies in shale deposits throughout North Dakota and Texas, Bloomberg reports. Approximately 95% of new oil and natural gas wells being drilled are hydraulically fractured. Over the last few months, American production of oil and natural gas has skyrocketed as a result.

As the U.S. oil and natural gas industry — which employs 9.8 million people and makes up 8% of the nation’s economy — becomes increasingly autonomous, the country’s power to wield influence across the global energy landscape will only continue to grow.

Have any other questions about the oil and gas industry? How do you think the shale boom and increased hydraulic stimulation will affect drilling rig companies that make oilfield equipment? Let us know in the comments below.

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