New figures for 2015 have shown that both gas production and consumption hit record highs in the US. Whilst the gas and oil industry continues to encounter turbulence around the world, it seems as if the natural gas side of things is improving.
In the latest data from EIA’s 2015 Natural Gas Annual, it was revealed that the US is both producing and consuming more of this resource than ever before. Though pricing for residential heating is highest for the Eastern US overall, consumers are also enjoying declines in cost. This is coupled with increasing exportation and, as a result, lower import levels, allowing the US to be increasingly reliant on its own resources.
For domestic production, levels have increased by 4.5 per cent from 2014 to reach 74.1 billion Bcf/d in 2015. In Pennsylvania, 2015 marks the third consecutive year that the state has experienced a record total gain for 12 month production. Meanwhile, Ohio saw the largest rise in production for the second year in a row, indicating the increased interest in this energy sector. In fact, for Ohio alone, production of dry natural gas has doubled. Whilst Texas and Louisiana were the exception to the rule, all other states saw steady or rising production levels.
Meanwhile, consumption is also gaining, helped by the fact that many coal plants are being retired and therefore their energy output needs replacing. With gas generation being economically sound, the demand for such a resource continues to climb. Though deliveries to commercial, residential and industrial niches actually dropped, the demand for natural gas from the power sector, and for vehicle fuel, rose by 18.1 per cent and 11.6 per cent, respectively. However, with the long-term decline in prices for the residential sector, increases from this market could rise. Though a few transport issues and extreme winter weather caused a small price gain in 2014, levels continue to fall. Capacity-strained states in the warm Southeast and Northeast typically saw the highest costs.
Finally, exports have risen significantly, with a 17.8 per cent rise from 1,783 Bcf to 1,514 Bcf. Of this, EIA indicated that 1,054 Bcf went to Mexico via pipeline, 700 Bcf was sent to Eastern Canada and 28 Bcf was loaded onto LNG tankers. Texas-based tankers were shipped to Turkey, Egypt and Brazil, whilst those leaving Alaska were distributed evenly between Japan and Taiwan.
The data shows 2015 to be a positive year for natural gas, and though results are yet to be collated for 2016, a similar trend could well be noted.
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