U.S. expected to reduce energy import gap to nine percent by 2040, EIA said

The United States is expected to produce more overall energy than it consumes by early next decade, but is still years away from self-sufficiency in oil production, according to government data released on Wednesday.

The difference between energy consumption and production is expected to fall from its current 20 percent gap to about 9 percent by 2040, as new fuel standards, rising energy prices and increased production of both oil and natural gas help close the gap, said Adam Sieminski, administrator for the U.S. Energy Information Administration, announcing the preliminary findings of the agency’s Annual Energy Outlook 2013.

“The advent of continuing improvements of advanced oil production technology, particularly for shale, and other tight formations, continues to lift tight supply,” Sieminski said. Domestic oil production is expected to reach 20 million barrels per day by 2019, he said.

The biggest gains in energy production are expected in natural gas, will lead to increased usage in electricity production. The agency estimates that the country will become a net exporter in 2020, a year earlier than was projected in its prior annual study.

Crude oil production is expected to rise as tight oil becomes more readily available, according to the study.

The agency’s full annual report will come out in March 2013 and Sieminski emphasized that it is not a forecast of the future, and that law changes and other external factors could change the statistics.

The agency has also further cut its estimate of future gasoline usage, driven by higher fuel efficiency standards, which are expected to lower domestic demand for oil.