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Natural Gas Production and U.S. Oil Imports

January 26, 2012 - 11:14am


During the State of the Union speech Tuesday night, President Obama spoke of the importance of reducing our reliance on imported oil by increasing domestic energy production.  As the U.S. has only 2 percent of the world's oil reserves, natural gas and renewable energy production will play an important role in reducing our net oil imports.  

The graph above shows Energy Information Administration (EIA) projections for U.S. domestic natural gas production and the percentage of U.S. petroleum that is imported.

Increased natural gas production is critical to reducing U.S. reliance on imported oil. Domestically-produced natural gas can replace imported crude oil in sectors such as heating and electricty generation, reducing the demand for imported oil.

EIA expects natural gas production to grow by more than 8 trillion cubic feet by 2035. As shown by the graph above, this would help U.S. reliance on imported oil, which is projected to decline to 36.5% of total consumption by 2035.

The decline in U.S. reliance on imported oil is not just about natural gas, however. Improved transportation efficiency, greater adoption of biofuels and other renewable energy sources, and increased domestic oil production will also be important factors. To learn more, take a look at EIA's 2012 Annual Energy Outlook Early Release. That report is the data source for this graph and contains detailed information on what the U.S. energy economy might look like over the next 33 years.