The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a report it expects that natural gas consumption will average 68.9 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2012, an increase of 2.1 Bcf/d (3.1 percent) from 2011.
EIA expects that large gains in electric power use will offset declines in residential and commercial use.
Because of the much-warmer-than-normal winter this year, EIA expects residential and commercial consumption to fall by 0.5 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively, in 2012, reflecting a downward revision in projected consumption from last month’s Outlook.
Projected consumption of natural gas in the electric power sector grows by close to 9 percent in 2012, primarily driven by the relative advantages of natural gas over coal for power generation in a growing number of economic dispatch decisions. Consumption in the electric power sector peaks in the third quarter of 2012, when electricity demand for air conditioning is highest.
Growth in total natural gas consumption continues into 2013, with forecast consumption averaging 69.3 Bcf/d (U.S. Natural Gas Consumption Chart). Consumption in the residential and commercial sectors increases in 2013 because of the forecast return to near-normal temperatures next winter. The increase in consumption in these sectors more than offsets a decline in power sector natural gas burn stemming from the projected increase in natural gas prices relative to coal prices later this year and next.
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports are expected to fall by 0.3 Bcf/d (28 percent) in 2012.
EIA expects that an average of about 0.7 Bcf/d will arrive at terminals in the United States in both 2012 and 2013, either to fulfill long-term contract obligations or to take advantage of temporarily high local prices due to cold snaps and disruptions.
LNG World News Staff, March 7, 2012; Image: EIA