Booming generation of natural gas and high-yielding oil fields along with relatively stable domestic energy demand are the main reasons the forecast has been bumped up. U.S. energy consumption is forecasted to grow by only 0.4 percent through 2050, compared with expectations for economic growth of 2 percent.
If the forecast is correct, 2022 will mark the first time the US will export more energy than it imports since 1953.
Shipments of natural gas cooled to liquid form, known as LNG, are expected to dominate the U.S. export flows. Historically, gas piped to Canada and Mexico has accounted for the bulk of exports.
EIA also expects coal to be a major energy export for the US through 2050. Within the US, coal-fired generation and production is expected to continue to fall as more coal-fired plants are retired.
“Yes, the U.S. could be completely — I think the phrase used at one time was energy independent — in certain cases. Even in the reference case, we’re a net exporter still of energy,” EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski said during a webcast.