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A pumpjack sits on the outskirts of town at dawn in the Permian Basin oil field in Texas. Photo: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

The Energy Department's statistical arm projected Tuesday that rising U.S. crude oil production will level off between 11 million and 12 million barrels per day, a level that's higher than the 2017 version of the annual long-term forecast but could nonetheless prove too conservative.

Why it matters: The increased projection in the base, or reference, scenario underscores the surge in oil development from shale plays — the stuff tapped by fracking and horizontal drilling — in Texas and elsewhere.

Last year's version of the Energy Information Administration's Annual Energy Outlook
— a huge collection of use and production projections for many energy sources through 2050 — projected a plateau of 10 million to 11 million daily barrels.

The reasoning for the boost: "Lower 48 onshore tight oil development continues to be the main driver of total U.S. crude oil production, accounting for about 65% of cumulative domestic production in the Reference case over the projection period 2017 to 2050," it states. However, it plateaus as "development moves into less productive areas and as well productivity declines," EIA adds.

Worth noting: U.S. crude production is already around 10 million barrels per day. The annual EIA report contains more and less aggressive scenarios, including what could be a vastly larger boost in U.S. production as shale development surges and becomes an even more dominant share of national output.

  • The "high oil and gas resource and technology case" projects U.S. crude oil production rising through the forecast period, climbing to the 15 million barrel range around 2030 and rising into what appears to be the 18-19 million barrel range by 2050.

Go deeper: The whole report — which explores coal, natural gas, renewables and more — is available here.

Go deeper

Updated 35 mins ago - World

Reports: Brazil leader to be accused of crimes against humanity over COVID

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Photo: Andressa Anholete/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Brazilian Senate panel will recommend President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with "crimes against humanity," alleging his COVID-19 pandemic response led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, per the New York Times and the Washington Post.

The latest: The lawmakers initially said Bolsonaro should be charged with mass homicide and genocide, but lawmakers updated the report to replace these with the new charge, its lead author, Sen. Renan Calheiros, told the NYT.

California governor declares drought emergency for entire state

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speakinng to reporters in Los Angeles in September. Photo: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) extended a drought emergency declaration to cover the entire state on Tuesday.

Why it matters: "California is experiencing its worst drought since the late 1800s, as measured by both lack of precipitation and high temperatures," per a statement from the governor's office. This past August was the driest and hottest one on record, "and the water year that ended last month was the second driest on record," the statement added.

Updated 4 hours ago - World

North Korea claims latest missile test new weapon launched from submarine

North Korean state media claims the country's military fired this missile on Tuesday. Photo: Korean Central News Agency

North Korean state media announced that a detected ballistic missile launch off its east coast on Tuesday was a newly developed weapon test-fired from a submarine.

Why it matters: Pyongyang's latest in a series of recent missile launches into the sea happened hours after U.S. officials emphasized their commitment to restart negotiations on North Korea's nuclear weapons program, which have stalled since talks broke down during the Trump administration, AP notes.