The United States becomes a net energy exporter in most AEO2017 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.
The High Oil Price case provides favorable economic conditions for crude oil and natural gas producers while restraining domestic consumption, enabling the most rapid transition to net exporter status. In all cases but the High Oil and Gas Resource Technology case, which assumes substantial improvements in production technology and more favorable resource availability, U.S. energy production declines in the 2030s, which slows or reverses projected growth in net energy exports.
The eight cases considered in AEO2017 incorporate different assumptions that reflect market, technology, resource, and policy uncertainties that affect energy markets. Other key findings include
Energy consumption is consistent across all AEO cases, bounded by the High and Low Economic Growth cases. In the Reference case, total energy consumption increases 5% between 2016 and 2040. Because a significant portion of energy consumption is related to economic activity, energy consumption is projected to increase by approximately 11% from 2016 to 2040 in the High Economic Growth case and remain nearly flat in the Low Economic Growth Case. In all AEO cases, the electric power sector remains the largest consumer of primary energy.
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. Unlike energy consumption, which varies less across AEO cases, projections of energy production vary widely. Production growth is dependent on technology, resource, and market conditions. Total energy production increases by more than 20% in the Reference case from 2016 through 2040, led by increases in crude oil and natural gas production.
Energy related carbon dioxide emissions decline in most AEO cases, with the highest emissions projected in the No Clean Power Plan case. All AEO2017 cases except the No Clean Power Plan case assume the Clean Power Plan is implemented.
To better focus EIA’s resources on expanding its understanding of rapidly evolving energy markets and to better represent new information in EIA’s models and publications, EIA has adopted a two-year release cycle for the AEO. Like AEO2015, AEO2017 is a shorter edition of the AEO. A full edition of the AEO, including Issues in Focus articles, in-depth updates on changes in Legislation and Regulations, and a larger set of side cases with browser tables and spreadsheets for all cases is produced every second year.
In years between the full editions, a shorter edition provides a smaller number of cases summarized in annotated presentation slides with the standard set of AEO browser tables and spreadsheets containing the detailed modeling results. EIA will continue to update and refine the market dynamics and technologies in future AEOs, especially for the projections between 2040 and 2050. Projections from the AEO2017 Reference and alternative cases are available on the Annual Energy Outlook website.
Principal contributor: EIA Staff