Last updateThu, 05 Dec 2019 8pm

Best Year Ever for U.S. Natural Gas Market

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Natural Gas Annual 2018 shows that the United States set new records in natural gas production, consumption, and exports in 2018. In 2018, dry natural gas production increased by 12%, reaching a record-high average of 83.8 billion cubic feet per day (cf/d). This increase was the largest percentage increase since 1951 and the largest volumetric increase in the history of the series, which dates back to 1930. U.S. natural gas consumption increased by 11% in 2018, driven by increased natural gas consumption in the electric power sector. Natural gas gross exports totaled 10.0 billion cf/d in 2018, 14% more than the 2017 total of 8.6 billion cf/d. Several new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities came online in 2018, allowing for more exports.

U.S. Strengthens Position as World’s Top Oil Producer

The U.S. further solidified its position as the world’s top producer of crude oil in October with domestic production reaching a new all-time high of 12.6 million barrels per day, according to data released from the American Petroleum Institute’s Monthly Statistical Report covering October 2019. The record production was met with solid U.S petroleum demand and exports plus lower oil prices in October.

Retreat in Global Chemicals Output Accelerates

Data collected and tabulated by the American Chemistry Council show that global chemicals production fell by 0.5% in September following a 0.3% decline in August. During September, chemical production increased in North America, Latin America, and Africa and the Middle East. Production fell in other regions. Headline global production was up only 1.3% year-over-year (Y/Y) on a three-month moving average basis and stood at 117.5% of its average 2012 levels.

During September, global chemicals capacity rose by 0.2% and was up 3.5% Y/Y. As a result, capacity utilization in the global chemical industry fell 0.6 points, to 81.9%. This is down from 83.8% last September and below the long-term (1987-2017) average of 86.4%.

Natural Gas Pipelines Adding Capacity in Regions of U.S.

The United States is expected to add between 16 billion cubic feet per day (cf/d) and 17 billion cf/d of natural gas pipeline capacity in 2019, most of which was built to provide additional takeaway capacity out of supply basins. Of the 134 active natural gas pipeline projects the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) tracks, 46 have entered or are expected to enter service in 2019. These projects will increase deliveries by pipeline to Mexico or to liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities in the Gulf Coast region.

More than 40% of this new pipeline capacity—7.2 billion cf/d—delivers natural gas to locations within the South Central region. Many of these pipeline projects will provide additional takeaway capacity out of the Permian Basin in western Texas or enable additional Permian natural gas production to reach the interstate pipeline system.

Texas Oil, Gas Operations Aided by Renewables

In the Permian Basin, the need for more power means that “oil and gas companies are increasingly relying on wind and solar power to ensure that the shale boom continues,” Reuters reports.

“Wind and solar farms help oil and gas producers lock in a growing part of that supply in a way that can be easily tailored to their needs as they keep ramping up production, industry experts say.”


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