Despite his campaign rhetoric of ending fossil fuels, President Biden acknowledged in his recent State of the Union address that “we will need oil for at least another decade.”
But a new report released Thursday by an independent agency on Biden’s own government projects will go much further.
In fact, the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) 2023 Annual Energy Outlook suggests that US oil production could peak between now and 2050, even if clean energy sources like wind and solar power increase dramatically. .
U.S. demand for oil and gas is likely to remain remarkably stable for decades, analysts say, and “we expect U.S. production to remain at historically high volumes as finished products exports grow,” Energy Angelina LaRose, EIA assistant administrator for analysis, said in a session Thursday around the release of the report.
The EIA is an independent government agency that prepared this week’s report without input from the White House or other officials such as Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. His predictions have also been echoed by outside experts in recent months, but Thursday’s release is an official government acknowledgment of the widespread expectation that US oil and gas production is unlikely to decline anytime soon.
‘Motor petrol and diesel fuels still in demand for 2050’
The US currently produces about 20 million barrels of oil per day. Looking to 2050, EIA analysts see the potential for a “higher oil and gas supply” scenario, where that number drops to about 30 million barrels per day in 2050. Production remains stable or decreases slightly in other models, but in every case that the analysts modeled, the US would remain a net exporter of petroleum products and natural gas through 2050.
The newly released report is likely to be cited repeatedly by Republican critics of President Biden, many of whom mocked him at the time he made his State of the Union prediction. GOP and industry critics say Biden and his allies have consistently underestimated the future for oil and natural gas companies, making companies fearful of investing for the future.
The report also comes in the wake of the Biden administration’s decision to approve ConocoPhillips’ Willow Drilling project in Alaska that will produce new oil for years.
EIA analysts also see explosive growth in clean energy and clean electricity in the coming decades. The report offered three other key predictions for the energy industry that should also excite environmentalists.
It roughly estimates the rapid decline in CO2 levels due to declining coal production and large increases in renewable energy generation “in all regions of the United States.” It also expects that technological changes such as more heat pumps in homes and more electric vehicles on the road will drive the overall energy industry towards cleaner energy.
But this process is likely to be very gradual. In the EV space, for example, EIA analysts estimate that clean cars will make up just under 20% of the overall automobile market in 2050.
“Motor gasoline and diesel fuels are still in demand for 2050,” LaRose said.
Another report released Thursday by the agency explores the potential impacts of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 on the energy sector, which is expected to bring significant changes from the landmark climate law. Overall CO2 production is projected to fall 25% to 38% below 2005 levels by 2030, driven by online changes related to legislation.
Ben Werschkul is Washington correspondent for Yahoo Finance.
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