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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

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology

CES was largely irrelevant this year

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Forced online by the pandemic and overshadowed by the attack on the Capitol, the 2021 edition of CES was mostly an afterthought as media's attention focused elsewhere.

Why it matters: The consumer electronics trade show is the cornerstone event for the Consumer Technology Association and Las Vegas has been the traditional early-January gathering place for the tech industry.

The FBI is tracing a digital trail to Capitol rioters

Illustration: Sarah Grillo

Capitol rioters, eager to share proof of their efforts with other extremists online, have so far left a digital footprint of at least 140,000 images that is making it easier for federal law enforcement officials to capture and arrest them.

The big picture: Law enforcement's use of digital tracing isn't new, and has long been at the center of fierce battles over privacy and civil liberties. The Capitol siege is opening a fresh front in that debate.

Off the Rails

Episode 6: Last stand in Georgia

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer, Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 6: Georgia had not backed a Democratic presidential candidate since 1992 and Donald Trump's defeat in this Deep South stronghold, and his reaction to that loss, would help cost Republicans the U.S. Senate as well. Georgia was Trump's last stand.

On Air Force One, President Trump was in a mood. He had been clear he did not want to return to Georgia, and yet somehow he'd been conscripted into another rally on the night of Jan. 4.