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U.S. Natural Gas Production Has Hit An All Time High

Julianne Geiger

Dry natural gas production in the United States will rise to an all-time high of 92.10 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2019, the EIA reported on Wednesday in its latest version of the Short Term Energy Outlook.

That figure is up 10% from 2018, but the EIA forecasts that the production growth in 2020 will be less due to “the lag between changes in price and changes in future drilling activity.”

The low prices for nat gas in Q3 2019 will trickle down and eventually reduce natural gas-directed drilling, the EIA says, by the first half of next year.

Natural gas production in 2020 is expected to reach 94.9 Bcf/d.

Total primary natural gas supply will also rise to 85.10 Bcf/d in 2019, before reaching 86.45 Bcf/d in 2020, the EIA said.

For net natural gas exports, the EIA is forecasting 4.8 Bcf/d in 2019, and then increasing to a staggering 7.4 Bcf/d in 2020. This is up from 2.0 Bcf/d in 2018, for a two-year increase of 270%.

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The EIA estimates that the share of US total utility-scale electricity generation from natural gas-fired power plants will increase to 37% of the total in 2019 and 38% in 2020—up from 34% in 2018. This increase will largely come at the expense of coal-fired power, which will fall from 28% of the total last year to 25% in 2019 and 22% in 2020.

This shift from coal to natural gas will also be responsible for lowering the projected carbon emissions in 2019 and 2020, to 5,180 million tonnes in 2019 and 5,074 million tonnes in 2020, the lowest level since 1991, Reuters reported.

The bridge fuel that the renewables industry is dismissing is, it would appear from the EIA data, far from “behind us”, with the EIA reporting no modest growth in renewable utility-scale generation in 2019 and 2020.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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