By - Jim Vess

U.S. sets records for natural gas production and exports in 2018

Energize Weekly, March 20, 2019

U.S. natural gas production set records in 2018 for the largest year-on-year increase, 11 percent, and overall production, average 101.3 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), according to the federal Energy Information Administration.

Domestic gas production measured as market production and dry-gas production also set records at 89.69 Bcf/d and 83.4 Bcf/d respectively. Market production represents gas withdrawals minus gas used for repressuring, venting or flared gas and non-hydrocarbon gases, which are removed. Dry gas is consumer-grade gas.

While the Appalachian region remained the largest natural gas-producing area in the country, Texas posted the largest jump in production increasing to 24.2 Bcf/d with withdrawals in the Permian Basin up 2.7 Bcf/d, a 34 percent increase, and withdrawals from the Hayneville Shale increasing 2.2 Bcf/d., a 10 percent increase over 2017.

Louisiana withdrawals from the Hayneville Shale were also up in 2018 reaching nearly 2 Bcf/d.

Appalachian natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica-Point Pleasant shales in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania grew nearly 18 percent to 28.5 Bcf/d in 2018. Ohio production posted the biggest increase in gross withdrawals of natural gas, up 34 percent in 2018 to 6.5 Bcf/d.

With the increased production, the volume of exported natural gas, through pipelines and as liquefied natural gas (LNG), increased for the fourth consecutive year to 9.9 Bcf/d, a 14 percent increase.

LNG exports increased 53 percent in 2018 to 3 Bcf/d. In December 2018, LNG exports hit a monthly record of 4 Bcf/d. That same month pipeline exports also reached a monthly record of 7.7 Bcf/d. In 2017, the U.S. became a net exporter of natural gas for the first time in almost 60 years, and that trend continued in 2018.

The EIA forecasts that natural gas exports by pipeline will surpass pipeline imports in 2019.

The U.S. net trade in petroleum, imports minus exports of oil, petroleum products and natural gas liquids, also reached its lowest level since 1967 at 3.3 million barrels of day.

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