EIA: U.S. hits new natural gas highs in 2019

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Natural Gas Annual shows that the United States set new records in natural gas production, consumption, and gross exports in 2019.

In 2019, dry natural gas production increased by 10 per cent, reaching a record-high average of 93.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). U.S. natural gas consumption increased by 3 per cent, led by greater use of natural gas in the electric power sector.

Natural gas gross exports increased 29 per cent to 12.8 Bcf/d, EIA said.

Power sector drives natural gas consumption

Courtesy of EIA

Increased use of natural gas by the electric power sector drove U.S. natural gas consumption growth. The electric power sector consumed 7 per cent more natural gas in 2019 than in 2018.

Electric power sector consumption grew largely because of favorable natural gas prices and ongoing coal plant retirements. Natural gas consumption in all other sectors was relatively unchanged.

LNG boost natural gas exports growth

As U.S. natural gas production increased, the volume of natural gas exports, both through pipelines and as liquefied natural gas (LNG), increased. The increase came for the fifth consecutive year. The annual average reached 12.8 Bcf/d.

U.S. LNG exports accounted for most of this increase, EIA noted in its report.

The United States continued to export more natural gas than it imported in 2019. Net natural gas exports averaged 5.2 Bcf/d.

In 2019, the United States also exported more natural gas by pipeline than it imported. This happened for the first time since at least 1985 (the earliest year in EIA’s natural gas pipeline trade data). The increase was mainly because of increased pipeline capacity to send natural gas to Canada and Mexico.

In 2019, dry natural gas production increased by 10 per cent, reaching a record high of 93.1 Bcf/d. This increase was the second-largest volumetric increase since at least 1930 and second only to last year’s increase.

The two largest natural gas-producing states, Texas and Pennsylvania, also had the two largest increases in natural gas production in 2019.

Texas annual average dry natural gas production increased 15 per cent, from 19.3 Bcf/d in 2018 to 22.2 Bcf/d in 2019.

Pennsylvania’s natural gas production increased 10 per cent, from 16.9 Bcf/d in 2018 to 18.6 Bcf/d in 2019.

Wyoming natural gas production decreased 11 per cent, from 4.3 Bcf/d in 2018 to 3.9 Bcf/d in 2019. This decrease was the largest year-on-year decline of any state in 2019.