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The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced the biggest jump in the natural gas output rate for the lower 48 states in three years on Thursday in the agency’s monthly production report.
Production stood at 80.2 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) in February, up 1.8 bcfd from January.
Gross gas production figures for February stood at their highest since August 2016, but February 2016 still holds the record for most production at 82.6 bcfd.
Texas, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma – the three most prolific gas-producing states – all saw new gas production, the latest numbers show.
Texas gas figures jumped by the first time in 10 months, marking the biggest increase since March 2011. Pennsylvania saw the fourth month of production spikes in a row and Oklahoma witnessed the largest output increase since March 2015.
While natural gas production declined in 2016, the agency said in its April Short Term Energy Outlook report that it expects this trend to be reversed in 2017, with natural gas production increasing by 0.8 billion cubic feet per day. The forecast for 2018 predicts an additional increase of 4 bcf/d.
Higher prices in natural gas, expected to rise from the March level of $2.88 to an average of $3.10 in 2017, with a further increase to $3.45 in 2018, will likely contribute to a decline in the share of electricity supplied by natural gas in the coming years, as gas loses its competitive edge. Surprisingly, the EIA predicts that natural gas’ share will fall from 34 percent to 32 percent by 2018, while that of coal will increase from 30 percent to 31 percent. Non-hydropower renewable energy (solar and wind) will see a modest increase from 9 percent to 10 percent, the STEO added.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…