The total U.S. net energy imports fell to their lowest level in 29 years for the first six months of 2014, said the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The total U.S. energy imports in the first six months of 2014 fell 6 percent compared with the first six months of 2013, almost entirely because of the decreasing petroleum and natural gas imports, which fell 6 percent and 5 percent, respectively, said the administration.
The consumption growth was outpaced with increases in the total energy production in the U.S., while there was a 17 percent reduction in net imports compared with the first six months of 2013, according to the U.S. agency.
While natural gas accounted for 55 percent of the 2014 year-to-date increase, coal accounted for 24 percent, renewable energy with 12 percent, petroleum at 8 percent and nuclear electric power's increase at 3 percent, the administration said.
Of the total natural gas consumption increase, the residential and commercial sectors accounted for 69 percent of the gain, while 30 percent of the increase came from the industrial sector, continuing a long-term trend toward higher industrial use of natural gas.
In the increase in total energy production, petroleum accounted for 52 percent of the 2014 year-to-date increase, natural gas for 27 percent, renewable energy for 9 percent, and nuclear electric power for 2 percent, while the total coal production fell 1 percent.
According to the U.S. agency, the increased liquids production reflects the use of advanced drilling methods, including hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.
Hydraulic fracturing, a technique used in 'unconventional' gas production, produces fractures in the rock formation that stimulate the flow of natural gas or oil, increasing the volumes that can be recovered, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The Energy Information Administration said that these techniques have led to higher production in areas such as the Bakken Region, Marcellus Region, Eagle Ford play, and Permian Basin, and have greatly increased U.S. oil and natural gas production.
Since the boom in 2008, the U.S. dependency on foreign oil sources has decreased. The U.S. imported 3.6 billion barrels of crude oil in 2008, which fell to 2.8 billion barrels in 2013, according to data compiled on the Energy Information Administration website.
By Ovunc Kutlu