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Today in Energy

March 10, 2020

U.S. natural gas production grew again in 2019, increasing by 10%

U.S. annual natural gas production
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production Report, Natural Gas Monthly

U.S. natural gas production grew by 9.8 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2019, a 10% increase from 2018. The increase was slightly less than the 2018 annual increase of 10.5 Bcf/d. U.S. natural gas production measured as gross withdrawals (the most comprehensive measure of natural gas production) averaged 111.5 Bcf/d in 2019, the highest volume on record, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Monthly Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production Report. U.S. natural gas production, when measured as marketed natural gas production and dry natural gas production, also reached new highs at 99.2 Bcf/d and 92.2 Bcf/d, respectively.

U.S. natural gas gross withdrawals recorded a monthly high of 116.8 Bcf/d in November 2019. Marketed natural gas production and dry natural gas production also reached monthly record highs of 103.6 Bcf/d and 96.4 Bcf/d, respectively, in November 2019. Gross withdrawals are the largest of the three measures because they include all natural gas plant liquids and nonhydrocarbon gases after oil, lease condensate, and water have been removed. Marketed natural gas production reflects gross withdrawals less natural gas used for repressuring wells, quantities vented or flared, and nonhydrocarbon gases removed in treating or processing operations. Dry natural gas is consumer-grade natural gas, or marketed production less natural gas liquids extracted.

monthly U.S. natural gas imports and exports
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Natural Gas Monthly

As natural gas production increased, the volume of natural gas exports—both through pipelines and as liquefied natural gas (LNG)—increased for the fifth consecutive year to an annual average of 12.8 Bcf/d. LNG exports accounted for 2.0 Bcf/d of the 2.9 Bcf/d increase in gross natural gas exports in 2019. Both pipeline and LNG gross exports of natural gas reached record monthly highs in December 2019 of 8.4 Bcf/d and 7.1 Bcf/d, respectively.

The United States continued to export more natural gas than it imported in 2019, and net natural gas exports averaged 5.2 Bcf/d. In 2019, the United States also exported more natural gas by pipeline than it imported for the first time since at least 1985, mainly because of increased pipeline capacity to send natural gas to Canada and Mexico.

monthly U.S. natural gas gross withdrawals
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production Report

The Appalachian region remains the largest natural gas producing region in the United States. Appalachian natural gas production from the Marcellus and Utica/Point Pleasant shales of Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania continues to grow; gross withdrawals increased from 28.6 Bcf/d in 2018 to 32.1 Bcf/d in 2019. Within the Appalachian region, Pennsylvania had the largest increase in gross withdrawals of natural gas, increasing by 2.1 Bcf/d in 2019 to reach 19.1 Bcf/d.

Nationally, Pennsylvania’s increase was second to that of Texas, where gross withdrawals increased by 3.6 Bcf/d to a record annual production of 28.0 Bcf/d. Texas’s increase in natural gas production is mainly from development in the Permian Basin and Haynesville shale formations. According to EIA’s Drilling Productivity Report, natural gas production in the Permian Basin increased by 3.4 Bcf/d in 2019, or 30%, and production in the Haynesville formation increased by 2.4 Bcf/d, or 26% compared with the previous year.

Principal contributor: Emily Geary