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Energy & Infrastructure

Natural gas having another record-breaking summer

Staff Reports

According to the latest Short-Term Energy Outlook released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) this month, electricity generation from natural gas-fired power plants is expected to reach new highs in 2018 and 2019 — increasing from 32 percent in 2017 to 35 percent in 2019.

In addition, the EIA forecasts that dry natural gas production will set a new record in 2018, averaging 81.3 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). EIA expects natural gas production will rise by an additional 3.1 Bcf/d in 2019 to 84.5 Bcf/d.

Coal’s forecast share of electricity generation is projected to slip from 30 percent in 2017 to 27 percent in 2019, while renewables increase slightly from 10 percent of electricity generation in 2017 to nearly 11 percent in 2019.

EIA graph

Total U.S. natural gas consumption averaged 74.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2017 and is forecast to increase by 7 percent to 79.7 Bcf/d in 2018 thanks to higher electric power sector use, which is forecast to increase by 2.4 Bcf/d (10%) from 2017 levels.

In 2018, EIA expects residential and commercial natural gas consumption to increase by 10 percent and by 4 percent, respectively, compared with 2017 levels. Industrial sector consumption of natural gas is forecast to increase by almost 4 percent in 2018 and then remain flat in 2019. Low natural gas prices in recent years have made it economical to increase the use of natural gas as feedstock in ammonia for nitrogenous fertilizer and methanol manufacturers.

Read the full report here.