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Short-Term Energy Outlook

Release Date: March 11, 2020  |  Next Release Date: April 7, 2020  |  Full Report    |   Text Only   |   All Tables   |   All Figures

Natural Gas

  • In February, the Henry Hub natural gas spot price averaged $1.91 per million British thermal units (MMBtu). Warmer-than-normal temperatures in February reduced demand for space heating and put downward pressure on prices. EIA forecasts that prices will begin to rise in the second quarter of 2020 as U.S. natural gas production declines and natural gas use for power generation increases the demand for natural gas. EIA expects prices to average $2.22/MMBtu in the third quarter of 2020. EIA forecasts that Henry Hub natural gas spot prices will average $2.11/MMBtu in 2020. EIA expects that natural gas prices will then increase in 2021, reaching an annual average of $2.51/MMBtu.
  • U.S. dry natural gas production set a record in 2019, averaging 92.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). Although EIA forecasts dry natural gas production will average 95.3 Bcf/d in 2020, a 3% increase from 2019, EIA expects monthly production to generally decline through 2020, falling from an estimated 96.5 Bcf/d in February to 92.3 Bcf/d in December. The falling production mostly occurs in the Appalachian and Permian regions. In the Appalachian region, low natural gas prices are discouraging producers from engaging in natural gas-directed drilling, and in the Permian region, low oil prices reduce associated gas output from oil-directed wells. In 2021, EIA forecasts dry natural gas production will rise from December 2020 levels in response to higher prices. Forecast dry natural gas production for 2021 averages 92.6 Bcf/d.
  • EIA estimates that total U.S. working natural gas in storage ended February at 2.1 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), 9% more than the five-year (2015–19) average. EIA forecasts that total working inventories will end March at 1.9 Tcf, 12% more than the five-year average. In the forecast, inventories rise by almost 2.1 Tcf during the April through October injection season to reach almost 4.0 Tcf on October 31.

U.S. natural gas consumption

U.S. marketed natural gas production

U.S. natural gas trade

U.S. Natural Gas Summary
  2018201920202021
Prices (dollars per thousand cubic feet)
Henry Hub Spot 3.272.662.192.60
Residential Sector 10.4610.5610.2410.33
Commercial Sector 7.777.627.217.45
Industrial Sector 4.213.913.313.72
Supply (billion cubic feet per day)
Marketed Production 89.9399.19102.5199.85
Dry Gas Production 83.8092.2495.2892.61
Pipeline Imports 7.707.367.007.12
LNG Imports 0.210.140.200.22
Consumption (billion cubic feet per day)
Residential Sector 13.6913.7013.2313.49
Commercial Sector 9.639.659.239.41
Industrial Sector 22.9522.9824.4724.43
Electric Power Sector 29.0130.9832.3930.31
Total Consumption 82.4084.9787.2785.61
Primary Assumptions (percent change from previous year)
Heating Degree Days 11.80.7-6.54.1
Cooling Degree Days 11.0-5.2-6.1-1.0
Commercial Employment 1.51.41.51.0
Natural-gas-weighted Industrial Production 2.6-0.40.00.2

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Related Figures
Henry Hub natural gas price XLSX PNG
U.S. natural gas prices XLSX PNG
U.S. marketed natural gas production XLSX PNG
U.S. natural gas consumption XLSX PNG
U.S. natural gas balance XLSX PNG
U.S. natural gas trade XLSX PNG
U.S. working natural gas in storage XLSX PNG
U.S. electricity generation by fuel, all sectors XLSX PNG
U.S. carbon dioxide emissions growth XLSX PNG
U.S. winter heating degree days XLSX PNG
U.S. census regions and census divisions XLSX PNG
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