EIA: US Gas Consumption to Rise 4.2 Percent in 2012

EIA: US Gas Consumption to Rise 4.2 Percent in 2012

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a report it expects that natural gas consumption will average 69.6 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2012, an increase of 2.8 Bcf/d (4.2 percent) from 2011.

EIA expects that large gains in electric power use will offset declines in residential and commercial use. Because of the much-warmer-than-normal winter this year, EIA expects residential and commercial consumption to fall by 3.9 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively, in 2012, reflecting a downward revision in projected consumption from last month’s Outlook. Currently, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) expects heating degree-days to total 4,020 for 2012, 5.3 percent less than in last month’s Outlook, and about 11 percent below the 30-year normal level.

Projected consumption of natural gas in the electric power sector grows by about 16 percent in 2012, primarily driven by the increasing relative cost advantages of natural gas over coal for power generation in some regions. Consumption in the electric power sector peaks in the third quarter of 2012, at 30.6 Bcf/d, when electricity demand for air conditioning is highest. This compares with 27.7 Bcf/d in the third quarter of 2011.

Growth in total natural gas consumption continues into 2013, with forecast consumption averaging 70.5 Bcf/d. A forecast of closer-to-normal winter temperatures drives increases in residential and commercial consumption of 7.3 percent and 4.7 percent, respectively. The increase in consumption in these sectors, as well as an increase in industrial consumption, more than offsets a 3.4-percent decline in power-sector natural gas burn.

EIA also said that liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports are expected to fall by 0.3 Bcf/d (28 percent) in 2012.

EIA expects that an average of about 0.7 Bcf/d will arrive in the United States (mainly at the Everett LNG terminal in New England and the Elba Island terminal in Georgia) in both 2012 and 2013, either to fulfill long-term contract obligations or to take advantage of temporarily high local prices due to cold snaps and disruptions.


LNG World News Staff, April 11, 2012; Image: EIA