WASHINGTON, July 9 (UPI) -- Expectations about total U.S. crude oil production for next year are the highest they've been in more than 40 years, the U.S. Energy Department said.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the Energy Department, said in its short-term market report, published Tuesday, total U.S. crude oil production averaged 7.4 million barrels per day last year and should level out at 8.4 million bpd for 2014.
EIA said it expects that level to increase to 9.3 million bpd by next year.
"The 2015 forecast represents the highest annual average level of oil production since 1972," it said in its report.
In a weekly petroleum report, EIA said the United States produced 8.4 million bpd for the week ending June 27, a 16 percent increase year-on-year.
EIA said much of the recent growth in U.S. crude oil production has come from so-called tight resource formations, a reference to shale oil deposits. This, in turn, led to a "significant" decline in petroleum imports, EIA said.
"The share of total U.S. liquid fuels consumption met by net imports fell from 60 percent in 2005 to an average of 33 percent in 2013," it said. "EIA expects the net import share to decline to 22 percent in 2015, which would be the lowest level since 1970."