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US oil output growth to slow, but peak still over a decade away: EIA

Highlights

EIA sees just 400,000 b/d in growth over a decade

Alaska output forecast to nearly double

  • Author
  • Brian Scheid
  • Editor
  • Gary Gentile
  • Commodity
  • Oil

Washington — The US shale oil boom will not burn out, but will spend the next 20 years fading away, the US Energy Information Administration said Wednesday in its latest Annual Energy Outlook.

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Annual US crude oil output climb to 14 million b/d by 2022, an increase of nearly 7.6 million b/d in a decade, but domestic will then level off, increasing by less than 400,000 b/d over the next decade as operators move to less productive plays and well productivity declines, according to EIA projections in the report. US oil output will begin a slow decline in the mid-2030s, falling another 500,000 b/d over the next decade and declining below 12 million b/d by 2050, EIA said.

The projection is the reference case for EIA's production outlook, a forecast in between low and high oil and gas supply cases.

In its reference case, EIA forecasts production in the Lower 48 to account for 70% of cumulative domestic output, peaking at 13.84 million b/d in 2032, accounting for 96% of total US output that year.

Oil production in Alaska will climb from 480,000 b/d in 2019 to a peak of 910,000 b/d in 2041, due mainly to development of fields in the National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska before 2030 and by the development of fields in the 1002 Section of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge after 2030, EIA said.

The agency said it remains unclear, however, if prices will make exploration and development of ANWR fields economical.

EIA said US Gulf of Mexico production will reach a record 2.4 million b/d in 2026, due to deepwater discoveries of oil and natural gas resources.

"Many of these discoveries occurred during exploration that took place before 2015, when oil prices were higher than $100 per barrel, and they are being developed as oil prices rise," EIA said. "Offshore production increases through 2035 before generally declining through 2050 as a result of new discoveries only partially offsetting declines in legacy fields."