The Energy Information Administration (EIA) says the rate of growth in energy use will slow to an average annual rate of 0.3% through 2035 because of moderated economic and population growth, coupled with increasing levels of energy efficiency. However, the agency says in its "Annual Energy Outlook 2012" report that natural gas production will increase throughout the projection period, allowing the U.S. to transition from a net importer to a net exporter of natural gas.
Link to full report summary.
EIA says much of the projected growth in natural gas production results from "the application of recent technological advances and continued drilling in shale plays with high concentrations of natural gas liquids and crude oil, which have a higher value than dry natural gas." "The outlook reflects increased use of LNG in markets outside North America, strong growth in domestic natural gas production, reduced pipeline imports and increased pipeline exports, and relatively low natural gas prices in the United States," it states.
The report also anticipates an increase in domestic crude oil production. "U.S. crude oil production increased from 5.0 million barrels per day in 2008 to 5.5 million barrels per day in 2010. Over the next 10 years, continued development of tight oil, in combination with the ongoing development of offshore resources in the Gulf of Mexico, pushes domestic crude oil production higher," states the report. "Because the technology advances that have provided for recent increases in supply are still in the early stages of development, future U.S. crude oil production could vary significantly, depending on the outcomes of key uncertainties related to well placement and recovery rates."
Additionally, the report states while the current trend toward increased use of natural gas and renewables appears fairly robust, "there is uncertainty about the factors influencing the fuel mix for electricity generation."