The U.S. could become a net exporter of energy in coming years, according to the federal government's Annual Energy Outlook 2017. This continues a trend the Energy Information Administration has highlighted before in its annual report.
The EIA projects the country will continue to import oil through 2050, though at much lower levels than in the past. The main thing that will make the U.S. a net exporter of energy is natural gas.
Domestic natural gas production has risen by nearly 30 percent over the past decade, primarily because controversial technologies such as hydraulic fracturing have opened up new fields to drilling. Now companies are proposing and building natural gas export facilities around the country with the production boom expected to continue.
The EIA is quick to warn that there is a lot of uncertainty in projections like this. That's why each year the agency considers a variety of factors and then develops multiple scenarios. It looks at things like production, demand, prices and technological advancements. Most of the agency's seven scenarios show the country becoming a net exporter by 2030.