U.S. Energy Exports to Top Imports by 2025, WoodMac Says

U.S. companies will export more energy than they import by 2025 as shale oil and gas production keeps climbing and the transportation sector becomes more efficient, Wood Mackenzie Ltd. said in a note today.

Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in hydrocarbon-rich layers of shale rock have boosted U.S. oil and gas production by 42 percent in the past seven years. The U.S. vehicle fleet will become 40 percent more energy-efficient by 2030, said James Brick, a senior analyst at the Edinburgh-based research firm.

“A country can achieve energy independence through two channels,” Brick said in the note. “It can either produce more or consume less, and the U.S. is doing both.”

Crude production in the U.S. has risen to 8.9 million barrels a day, the highest level since 1985, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. Natural gas output is 2.3 trillion cubic feet a day, the highest on record.

Oil production is expected to rise to 10.3 million barrels a day, and the peak level could be more than 13 million by 2030 depending on developing technologies in the enhanced oil recovery and refracturing fields, Brick said.

If the U.S. government lifts restrictions on exporting crude oil that were put in place after the 1973 Arab oil embargo, domestic producers could get $5 a barrel more for their oil and output could rise by 350,000 to 450,000 barrels a day.

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