USA to be a net energy exporter in 2017

The unbelievable has just happened: the U.S. government has projected that we will become a net energy exporter this year, in 2017.

The eight cases considered in the Energy Information Administration (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook 2017 (AEO2017), released last week, present updated projections for U.S. energy markets incorporating different assumptions that reflect market, technology, resource, and policy uncertainties that affect energy markets.  The AEO2017 reports that the United States becomes a net energy exporter in most of these cases as petroleum liquid imports fall and natural gas exports rise.  Exports are highest and grow throughout the projection period, in the High Oil and Gas Resource and Technology case, because favorable geology and technological developments result in the production of oil and natural gas at lower costs.

Other key findings include:

  1. Energy consumption is consistent across all AEO cases, bounded by the High and Low Economic Growth cases. 
  2.  Energy production ranges from nearly flat in the Low Oil and Gas Resource and Technology case to growth of nearly 50% over 2016-40 in the High Oil and Gas Resource and Technology case.
  3.  Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions decline in most AEO cases, with the highest emissions projected in the No Clean Power Plan case.

Those of us old enough to remember the energy crisis of the 1970s also recall that presidents from that time forward tried to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil without much success.  It is deliciously ironic that America becomes energy independent on the watch of president Obama, who tried with Energy Secretary "$10 a gallon" Steven Chu to destroy the energy industry and drive up energy prices, yet he accomplished the exact opposite and succeeded where no U.S. president had before.  

Timing is everything.  The oil patch promises to offer a huge tail wind for the Trump economy and will become a big contributor to helping him Make America Great Again. 

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