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U.S. fossil fuel production will only increase in 2022, EIA forecasts

Oil and gas development on public lands in Wyoming
BLM Wyoming

Despite the Biden administration’s promise to reduce carbon emissions, a new federal report shows oil, gas and coal production in the U.S. is increasing. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says the rise is expected to last for at least another year and it’s fueled, in part, by high energy prices and extreme temperatures.

Unusually cold weather across the U.S. last February prompted more people to heat their homes and drained the nation’s natural gas reserves. That drove up prices and spurred increased production to get ready for this winter.

“Mild weather has limited natural gas consumption and helped bring our storage levels closer to average in recent weeks, but cold winter weather could continue to put upward pressure on prices,” said EIA Acting Administrator Steve Nalley. “Winter temperatures will be the key driver of natural gas demand, inventories and ultimately prices.”

The EIA’s short-term forecast says natural gas production will continue to rise into next year. In the meantime, those high prices are driving more energy providers to rely on cheaper coal for power instead. Coal production is expected to rise by about 5% next year. Meanwhile, high gasoline prices are helping spur more oil production. EIA analysts expect a 7% jump in crude oil production in 2022.

All of this is happening as President Joe Biden promises to reduce emissions. He addressed these inconsistencies at a press conference earlier this month in Glasgow, Scotland.

“No one has anticipated that this year we’d be in a position – or even next year – that we’re not going to use any more oil or gas, that we’re not going to be engaged in any fossil fuels,” he told reporters.

The EIA estimates that carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. from fossil fuels will rise through 2022.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Nate Hegyi is a roving regional reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, based at Nevada Public Radio. You can reach him at natehegyi@protonmail.com.

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