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Short-Term Energy Outlook

Release Date: November 13, 2019  |  Next Release Date: December 10, 2019  |  Full Report    |   Text Only   |   All Tables   |   All Figures

Natural Gas

  • Natural gas storage injections in the United States outpaced the previous five-year (2014–18) average during the 2019 injection season as a result of rising natural gas production. At the beginning of April, when the injection season started, working inventories were 28% lower than the five-year average for the same period. By October 31, U.S. total working gas inventories reached 3,762 billion cubic feet (Bcf), which was 1% higher than the five-year average and 16% higher than a year ago
  • EIA expects natural gas storage withdrawals to total 1.9 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) between the end of October and the end of March, which is less than the previous five-year average winter withdrawal. A withdrawal of this amount would leave end-of-March inventories at almost 1.9 Tcf, 9% higher than the five-year average.
  • The Henry Hub natural gas spot price averaged $2.33 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in October, down 23 cents/MMBtu from September. The decline largely reflected strong inventory injections. However, forecast cold temperatures across much of the country caused prices to rise in early November, and EIA forecasts Henry Hub prices to average $2.73/MMBtu for the final two months of 2019. EIA forecasts Henry Hub spot prices to average $2.48/MMBtu in 2020, down 13 cents/MMBtu from the 2019 average. Lower forecast prices in 2020 reflect a decline in U.S. natural gas demand and slowing U.S. natural gas export growth, allowing inventories to remain higher than the five-year average during the year even as natural gas production growth is forecast to slow.
  • EIA forecasts that annual U.S. dry natural gas production will average 92.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2019, up 10% from 2018. EIA expects that natural gas production will grow much less in 2020 because of the lag between changes in price and changes in future drilling activity, with low prices in the third quarter of 2019 reducing natural gas-directed drilling in the first half of 2020. EIA forecasts natural gas production in 2020 will average 94.9 Bcf/d.
  • EIA expects U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to average 4.7 Bcf/d in 2019 and 6.4 Bcf/d in 2020 as three new liquefaction projects come online. In 2019, three new liquefaction facilities—Cameron LNG, Freeport LNG, and Elba Island LNG—commissioned their first trains. Natural gas deliveries to LNG projects set a new record in July, averaging 6.0 Bcf/d, and increased further to 6.6 Bcf/d in October, when new trains at Cameron and Freeport began ramping up. Cameron LNG exported its first cargo in May, Corpus Christi LNG’s newly commissioned Train 2 in July, and Freeport in September. Elba Island plans to ship its first export cargo by the end of this year. In 2020, Cameron, Freeport, and Elba Island expect to place their remaining trains in service, bringing the total U.S. LNG export capacity to 8.9 Bcf/d by the end of the year.

U.S. natural gas consumption

U.S. marketed natural gas production

U.S. natural gas trade

U.S. working natural gas in storage

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U.S. natural gas prices

U.S. natural gas balance

Henry Hub natural gas price

U.S. Natural Gas Summary
  2017201820192020
Prices (dollars per thousand cubic feet)
Henry Hub Spot 3.103.272.712.58
Residential Sector 10.8610.4610.8510.66
Commercial Sector 7.867.777.687.57
Industrial Sector 4.084.213.923.70
Supply (billion cubic feet per day)
Marketed Production 80.0189.9399.04102.12
Dry Gas Production 74.8183.8092.1394.95
Pipeline Imports 8.107.707.397.07
LNG Imports 0.210.210.150.20
Consumption (billion cubic feet per day)
Residential Sector 12.0913.6914.0013.80
Commercial Sector 8.679.639.719.47
Industrial Sector 21.7822.9523.0723.79
Electric Power Sector 25.3929.0130.9131.39
Total Consumption 74.3782.5085.1086.45
Primary Assumptions (percent change from previous year)
Heating Degree Days -1.311.80.3-2.5
Cooling Degree Days -8.311.0-4.5-7.5
Commercial Employment 1.71.61.71.3
Natural-gas-weighted Industrial Production 3.32.6-0.8-0.6

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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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