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Short-Term Energy Outlook

Release Date: April 10, 2018  |  Next Release Date: May 8, 2018  |  Full Report    |   Text Only   |   All Tables   |   All Figures

Natural Gas

  • U.S. dry natural gas production averaged 73.6 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2017. EIA forecasts dry natural gas production will average 81.1 Bcf/d in 2018, establishing a new record. EIA expects natural gas production will rise by 1.7 Bcf/d in 2019.
  • Growing U.S. natural gas production is expected to support both growing domestic consumption and increasing natural gas exports in the forecast. EIA forecasts U.S. consumption of natural gas to increase by 4.2 Bcf/d (5.7%) in 2018 and by 0.7 Bcf/d (0.9%) in 2019, with electric power generation the leading contributor to this increase. EIA also expects net natural gas exports to increase from 0.4 Bcf/d in 2017 to an annual average of 2.2 Bcf/d in 2018 and 4.4 Bcf/d in 2019.
  • EIA estimates that natural gas inventories ended March (typically considered the end of the winter heating season) at almost 1.4 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), which was 19% lower than the previous five-year average. Based on a forecast of rising production, EIA forecasts that natural gas inventories will increase by more than the five-year average rate of growth during the injection season (April–October) to reach almost 3.8 Tcf on October 31, which would be 2% lower than the previous five-year average.
  • EIA expects Henry Hub natural gas spot prices to average $2.99/million British Thermal units (MMBtu) in 2018 and $3.07/MMBtu in 2019. The average NYMEX futures and options contract values for July 2018 delivery that traded during the five-day period ending April 5, 2018, suggest that a range of $2.30/MMBtu to $3.43/MMBtu encompasses the market expectation for July 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 2.613.103.103.19
Residential Sector 10.0410.9210.5510.95
Commercial Sector 7.297.877.848.05
Industrial Sector 3.524.144.154.29
Supply (billion cubic feet per day)
Marketed Production 77.8178.9387.0389.08
Dry Gas Production 72.8573.5781.0882.79
Pipeline Imports 7.978.118.058.29
LNG Imports 0.240.210.240.22
Consumption (billion cubic feet per day)
Residential Sector 11.8712.1213.0212.90
Commercial Sector 8.488.709.039.03
Industrial Sector 21.1021.6521.8421.93
Electric Power Sector 27.2825.3427.5027.96
Total Consumption 75.1074.2278.4579.18
Primary Assumptions (percent change from previous year)
Heating Degree Days -5.1-1.29.20.7
Cooling Degree Days 4.7-8.5-2.3-1.1
Commercial Employment 2.21.81.71.9
Natural-gas-weighted Industrial Production 1.12.82.93.1

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