WASHINGTON, July 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. Energy Department said the country would rely less on foreign oil imports as domestic oil production reaches 6.7 million bpd by 2013.
The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration, in its monthly short-term energy outlook, noted domestic crude oil production increased 3.7 percent last year to 5.7 million barrels per day. Production should increase to 6.3 million bpd in 2012, the highest annual level since 1997, and reach 6.7 million bpd by next year.
The EIA said onshore crude oil production in all states but Alaska should increase by 660,000 bpd in 2012. Offshore production in the Gulf of Mexico holds steady, though production in Alaska should decline by 30,000 bpd.
Nevertheless, onshore production in the Lower 48 states should contribute to a net increase of 410,000 bpd next year, suggesting the United States will rely less on foreign oil imports to meet its energy demands.
Retail gasoline prices hovered around $4 per gallon in the United States earlier this year, prompting concerns about the state of the overall economy. Critics of President Barack Obama's domestic energy policy called for more domestic oil and natural gas production in response to the price increase.
The EIA said it expected regular gasoline retail prices will settle at around $3.28 per gallon in 2013, down from the average $3.90 per gallon reported in April.