US 'to become net energy exporter by 2020'

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Thanks to lower consumption in the US and higher production of alternative sources of energy, the US will become a net energy exporter by 2020, one group has said.

The US will export more energy than it imports by 2020, according to new forecasts from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

In its Annual Energy Outlook report, the organization said that as long as current laws and regulations continue to apply, the US will become a net energy exporter next year for the first time since the 1950s.

This is due to predicted large increases in crude oil, natural gas and natural gas plant liquids production, as well as slower energy consumption in US markets.

The EIA expects that this would continue until 2050 as natural gas prices are kept low due to more domestic usage and higher liquefied natural gas exports.

Use of renewables is also likely to be a factor as the nation's power sector shifts from coal and nuclear plants towards cleaner sources of energy.

Indeed, the share of solar power is predicted to rise from 13 per cent in 2018 to 48 per cent in 2050.

According to figures from the EIA, domestic energy production in the US was equal to around 90 per cent of consumption in 2017.

The difference between consumption and production was mainly due to the energy content of net imports of crude oil.