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ICYMI: National Intelligence Council report forecasts a brighter energy future for the United States


ICYMI: The National Intelligence Council has released its Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds report. The long-range analytical report from the U.S. intelligence community forecasts a “brighter” energy future for the U.S., with American power sustained in part by domestic energy production. The report also suggests that independence is attainable within 10 to 20 years.

You can download the full report here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/115962650/GlobalTrends-2030.

Highlights from the report:

The North American energy boom is the source of both a great deal of the world’s future fossil fuel production and a more optimistic outlook on the energy front in general.

  • “Much of this increased production—and recent optimism—derives from unconventional oil and gas being developed in North America.” (p. 34)

Energy independence for the U.S. is an achievable goal by about 2030, brought about by higher levels of domestic production in the fossil fuel sector.

  • “In a tectonic shift, energy independence is not unrealistic for the US in as short a period as 10-20 years. Increased oil production and the shale gas revolution could yield such independence. US production of shale gas has exploded with a nearly 50 percent annual increase between 2007 and 2011, and natural gas prices in the US have collapsed. US has sufficient natural gas to meet domestic needs for decades to come, and potentially substantial global exports. Service companies are developing new “super fracking” technologies that could dramatically increase recovery rates still further.” (pp. 34-35)

Exports could very well be a big part of this story in the coming years.

  • “US has sufficient natural gas to meet domestic needs for decades to come, and potentially substantial global exports.” (p. 35)
  • “Shale oil production in the US is still in its early stages, and its full potential remains uncertain, but development is happening at a faster pace than shale gas. Preliminary estimates for 2020 range from 5-15 million barrels per day with a production breakeven price as low as $44-$68 per barrel depending upon the fields. By 2020, the US could emerge as a major energy exporter.” (p. 35)

While the report notes environmental risks and concerns, it also forecasts substantial benefits to the U.S. economy as the boom continues, including millions of jobs and a 1.7-2.2 percent increase in GDP – the equivalent of hundreds of billions of dollars. The beneficial impacts will be wide-ranging in the U.S. and will have ripple effects across industry, employment, and the balance of trade.

  • “The prospect of significantly lower energy prices will have significant positive ripple effect for the US economy, encouraging companies to taking advantage of lower energy prices to locate or relocate to the US. Preliminary analysis of the impact on the US economy suggests that these developments could deliver a 1.7-2.2 percent increase in GDP and 2.4-3.0 million additional jobs by 2030. Additional crude oil production would result in a significant reduction in US net trade balance.”
  • “US industry will also benefit from increased domestic natural gas production, which will lower energy costs for many manufacturing industries. Over time, the increased domestic energy production could reduce the US trade deficit because the US would be able to reduce energy imports and may be able to export natural gas and oil. Increased domestic energy production could boost employment at home.” (p. 98)

SOURCE: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

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