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Short-Term Energy Outlook

Release Date: February 6, 2018  |  Next Release Date: March 6, 2018  |  Full Report    |   Text Only   |   All Tables   |   All Figures

Natural Gas

  • EIA estimates that U.S. dry natural gas production averaged 73.6 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2017. EIA forecasts that natural gas production will reach 80.3 Bcf/d in 2018, establishing a new record. That level would be 6.7 Bcf/d higher than the 2017 level, and the forecast 2017 growth would be the highest annual average growth on record. EIA expects natural gas production will also increase in 2019, with forecast growth of 2.6 Bcf/d.
  • In January, the U.S. benchmark Henry Hub natural gas spot price averaged $3.88 per million British thermal units (MMBtu), up $1.06/MMBtu from December. Cold temperatures east of the Rocky Mountains in early January contributed to high levels of natural gas consumption as well as a reduction in production because of well freeze-offs. This combination resulted in record-high natural gas inventory withdrawals in mid-January, which contributed to rising prices.
  • EIA expects natural gas prices to moderate in the coming months, based on a forecast of record growth in natural gas production. EIA expects Henry Hub spot prices to average $3.34/MMBtu in February and $3.20/MMBtu for all of 2018. In 2019, EIA forecasts prices will average $3.08/MMBtu. NYMEX contract values for May 2018 delivery that traded during the five-day period ending February 1, 2018, suggest that a range of $2.26/MMBtu to $3.67/MMBtu encompasses the market expectation for May Henry Hub natural gas prices at the 95% confidence level.
U.S. Natural Gas Summary
  2016201720182019
Prices (dollars per thousand cubic feet)
Henry Hub Spot 2.613.103.313.19
Residential Sector 10.0410.9710.7810.96
Commercial Sector 7.297.908.048.08
Industrial Sector 3.524.154.394.31
Supply (billion cubic feet per day)
Marketed Production 77.8178.9186.4289.38
Dry Gas Production 72.8573.5780.3082.86
Pipeline Imports 7.978.087.898.21
LNG Imports 0.240.210.210.22
Consumption (billion cubic feet per day)
Residential Sector 11.8712.1212.8812.67
Commercial Sector 8.488.639.099.04
Industrial Sector 21.1021.5421.7522.25
Electric Power Sector 27.2825.6026.7927.91
Total Consumption 75.1074.2977.4479.20
Primary Assumptions (percent change from previous year)
Heating Degree Days -5.1-1.511.0-0.6
Cooling Degree Days 4.7-8.7-4.20.3
Commercial Employment 2.21.71.61.5
Natural-gas-weighted Industrial Production 1.12.93.43.4

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