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ICF: North America Midstream Infrastructure through 2035

North America Midstream Infrastructure through 2035: Capitalizing on Our Energy Abundance


The objective of this new study is to inform industry, policymakers, and stakeholders about the new dynamics of North America’s energy markets and the infrastructure that will be needed to ensure that consumers benefit from the abundance of natural gas, crude oil, and NGL across the United States and Canada. This is particularly relevant as policymakers seek to promote job growth and economic development, protect the environment, increase energy security, and reduce the trade deficit.

This study assesses midstream infrastructure needs through 2035 and includes an extensive update of natural gas, NGL, and oil production trends based on projections of drilling activity and consideration of the increasing recoverable resource base and prevailing market conditions.2 This study expands on the scope of the 2011 study to assess the changing market dynamics and the growing importance of crude oil and NGL production. This study also re-assesses the levels of investment in gas gathering systems; processing plants; gas storage fields; and oil, gas, and NGL transmission lines.3 It also considers investments that were not considered in the 2011 study, including investments in compression for gas gathering lines, crude oil gathering lines, crude oil storage terminals, NGL fractionation facilities, NGL export facilities, oil and gas lease equipment, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities. These facilities account for a substantial portion of the total midstream investments identified in this study.

Study results are driven by projected increases in U.S. and Canadian crude oil and natural gas supplies, as well as North American market growth, particularly in the power and industrial sectors. Natural gas imports in the form of LNG, which in previous projections were viewed as a marginal supply source, have been displaced by even more robust domestic gas and NGL production growth, and LNG export capability has been introduced in this updated study. The study projects that NGL use will grow, particularly in petrochemical applications. It also projects new oil supplies will flow to refineries through new or repurposed pipeline infrastructure, displacing foreign imports of oil over time.

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