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U.S. natgas output, demand seen rising to record highs in 2019


(Reuters) – U.S. dry natural gas production will rise to an all-time high of 90.19 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) in 2019 from a record high 83.31 bcfd in 2018, according to the Energy Information Administration’s Short Term Energy Outlook (STEO) on Tuesday.

The latest January output projection for 2019 was up from EIA’s 89.99-bcfd forecast in December.

EIA also projected U.S. gas consumption would rise to an all-time high of 82.65 bcfd in 2019 from a record high 81.58 bcfd in 2018.

That 2019 demand projection in the January STEO report was up from EIA’s 81.57-bcfd forecast for the year in its December report.

In 2020, EIA projected output would rise to 92.22 bcfd and demand would rise to 83.55 bcfd.

The agency forecast U.S. net gas exports would reach 6.0 bcfd in 2019 and 8.2 bcfd in 2020, up from 2.1 bcfd in 2018. The United States became a net exporter of gas for the first time in 60 years in 2017.

In electrical generation, EIA projected gas would remain the primary U.S. power plant fuel in 2019 and 2020 after first supplanting coal in 2016.

EIA projected the share of gas generation would rise to 36 percent in 2019 and 37 in 2020 from 35 percent in 2018.

Coal’s share of generation was forecast to slide to 26 percent in 2019 and 24 percent in 2020 from 28 percent in 2018.

EIA projected the electric power sector would burn 588.2 million short tons of coal in 2019, the lowest since 1980, and 544.7 million short tons in 2020, the lowest in 40 years. That compares with 640.7 million short tons in 2018, which was the lowest since 1983.

U.S. carbon emissions have mostly declined since peaking at 6,002 million tonnes in 2007 as the power sector burns less coal, falling to a 25-year low of 5,144 million tonnes in 2017.

But in 2018, U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rose for the first year in four to 5,289 million tonnes due to a booming economy and higher gas consumption during a colder winter and warmer summer than in 2017.

EIA projected carbon emissions would slip to 5,226 million tonnes in 2019 and 5,186 million tonnes in 2020, due to forecasts for near-normal weather and moderating economic growth.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and James Dalgleish



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