US net imports of liquid fuels as a share of consumption will diminish to about 25% by 2016 from 40% in 2012 and 60% in 2005, according to the US Energy Information Administration’s 2014 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO). The US will become a net exporter of natural gas by 2018, EIA’s data show.
In contrast, other major economies’ reliance on imported liquid fuels and natural gas is expected to rise in the coming years. “China, India, and OECD Europe will each import at least 65% of their oil and 35% of their natural gas by 2020—becoming more like Japan, which relies on imports for more than 95% of its oil and gas consumption,” EIA said, adding that the reasons for these shifts vary between emerging and developed economies.
In China and India, oil demand growth from emergent middle classes will likely outpace domestic production, giving rise to long-term import reliance, while the decline in the North Sea production is deemed as the major reason for more imports in OECD Europe.
EIA noted in the 2013 International Energy Outlook that, as China moves from an industrial manufacturing economy to a more service-oriented economy with greater automobile saturation, the country will experience the largest absolute growth in liquid fuels consumption, increasing by about 46% by 2020 and doubling by 2040 from 2010 levels. China will also experience the largest growth in natural gas demand because the government is promoting gas as a preferred fuel to help alleviate air pollution.
EIA expects India to have the fastest liquid fuels consumption growth of 3%/year from 2010 to 2020 and the second-largest absolute growth (behind China). India’s natural gas consumption is projected to rise by 1.5%/year from 2010 to 2020, while production decreases by an average of 1.1%/year over the period.
In OECD Europe, oil output from the North Sea, the largest source of European production and the location of the Brent International price benchmark, will see an average annual decline of 2.9% from 2010 to 2020. EIA projects overall natural gas production to decline about 2.6%/year from 2010 to 2020.
Natural gas consumption in the region will increase at a modest 0.3%/year from 2010 to 2020 and oil product demand will largely remain flat, EIA forecasts.