Tags: oil | gas | production | fracking

Energy Report: Natural Gas Drilling Will Soar as Oil Use Slows

Monday, 16 Dec 2013 01:13 PM

By Courtney Coren

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Oil and natural gas production is currently booming in the United States, but oil drilling is expected to slow in the next 30 years, while gas drilling is predicted to grow more than 50 percent by 2040.

According to a report released Monday by the Energy Department, natural gas is expected to replace coal for electricity generation by 2040, USA Today is reports.

"Advanced technologies for crude oil and natural gas production are continuing to increase domestic supply and reshape the U.S. energy economy as well as expand the potential for U.S. natural gas exports," said Adam Sieminski of the department's Energy Information Administration.

Crude oil production in the United States is expected to increase until 2016 before it starts to slow and decline after 2020.

However, natural gas production is expected to rise 56 percent from 2012 to 2040, according to the EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2014 Early Release Overview.

This increase is projected based on the rise in horizontal and hydraulic drilling, also known as fracking.

Because natural gas is more affordable fuel than nuclear and coal, it is expected to become the energy source of choice in some areas. By 2040, the EIA predicts that natural gas will make up 35 percent of electricity generation, while coal will fall to 32 percent.

The report notes two other trends that are expected to grow — a reduction in energy consumption due to more energy-efficient cars combined with an increase in the use of solar and wind energy. As a result, U.S. net energy imports could drop from 16 percent in 2012 to four percent by 2040. By comparison, imports comprised 30 percent of total energy consumption in 2005.

The full Annual Energy Outlook 2014 report is expected to be released sometime next spring. The data calculated in the report is based on current laws and regulations.

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