Increased gas-fired power generation drove U.S. natural gas consumption to new records last year, according to the federal Energy Information Administration.
The EIA reported that U.S. gas consumption rose three percent to about 85 billion cubic feet per day, according to the annual report on production, consumption and exports. Gas-fired power generation has grown to about 35-37 percent of the nation’s electricity capacity mix.
This rise in gas-fired capacity mirrors the historic leap in natural gas production over the past 15 years, driving down prices for utilities who are building combined cycle plants to replace retiring or less-utilized coal-fired generation. U.S. dry gas production has increased about 80 percent since 2000, when it totaled just over 50 billion cubic feet per day.
Advancements in shale gas drilling help drive the U.S. to a new record of 93.1 billion cubic feet in average daily production in 2019, a dramatic 10 percent increase over 2018.
The electric power sector accounted for about 30 billion cubic feet per day, according to EIA. Power generation and industrial sector drove more than half of the overall U.S. natural gas consumption last year.
U.S. gas exports, led by new liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects along the Gulf Coast, increased 29 percent year over year to 12.8 billion cubic feet per day. The LNG export terminals can liquefy natural gas (by extreme freezing) for shipping to power generation markets globally.
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