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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. crude production to reach 43-year high in 2015, EIA predicts


U.S. crude-oil production is projected to average 8.5 million barrels per day in 2014 and 9.3 million barrels per day in 2015 after averaging 7.4 million barrels in 2013, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) latest short-term energy outlook released last week.

The forecasted 2015 level would represent the highest annual oil production since 1972, EIA officials said in the report.

"The growth in domestic production has contributed to a significant decline in petroleum imports," the report states. "The share of total U.S. liquid fuels consumption met by net imports fell from 60 percent in 2005 to an average of 33 percent in 2013. [We] expect the net import share to decline to 22 percent in 2015, which would be the lowest level since 1970."

The EIA also predicts that U.S. coal production will grow 2.7 percent to slightly more than 1 billion short tons in 2014, driven by higher consumption. But production in 2015 is forecasted to dip 0.9 percent.

Total coal consumption is expected to grow 2.8 percent in 2014 because of higher electricity demand and natural gas prices that are nearly 30 percent above 2013's level, the report states. But total consumption then is forecasted to fall 2.8 percent in 2015 as retirements of coal power plants rise in response to the implementation of mercury and air toxics standards, electricity sales slow and natural gas prices fall relative to coal prices.

The EIA believes coal exports will decline a bit in 2014 primarily because of slowing world demand and increasing output in other coal-exporting countries, and then decrease again in 2015.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/15/2014