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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 90.27 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) in 2019 from a record high of 83.40 bcfd last year, the Energy Information Administration’s Short Term Energy Outlook (STEO) said on Tuesday.

The latest May output projection for 2019 was down from EIA’s 91.00 bcfd forecast in April.

EIA also projected U.S. gas consumption would rise to an all-time high of 84.07 bcfd in 2019 from a record high 82.08 bcfd a year ago.

The 2019 demand projection in the May STEO report was down from EIA’s 84.61 bcfd forecast for the year in April.

In 2020, EIA projected output would rise to 92.19 bcfd and demand would rise to 84.78 bcfd.

The agency forecast U.S. net gas exports would reach 5.3 bcfd in 2019 and 7.6 bcfd in 2020, up from 2.5 bcfd in 2018. The United States became a net exporter of gas for the first time in 60 years in 2017.

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

EIA projected the share of gas generation would rise to 37 percent in 2019 and 38 percent in 2020 from 35 percent in 2018.

Coal’s share of generation, meanwhile, was forecast to slide to 24 percent in 2019 and 22 percent in 2020 from 27 percent in 2018.

EIA projected the electric power sector would burn 555.1 million short tons of coal in 2019, the lowest since 1979, and 512.6 million short tons in 2020, which would be the lowest since 1978. That compares with 636.5 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 5,131 million tonnes in 2017.

But in 2018, U.S. energy-related carbon emissions rose for the first time in four years to 5,268 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 5,156 million tonnes in 2019 and 5,116 million tonnes in 2020, the lowest since 1992, due to forecasts for near-normal weather.



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