The U.S. Energy Information Administration raised its forecast for 2017 Henry Hub natural gas spot prices.
In its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, the agency said Henry Hub gas prices would average $3.55/MMBtu in 2017, up from an average of $2.51/MMBtu in 2016.
These estimates are up 28 cents and 2 cents, respectively, from forecasts in EIA’s December short-term outlook.
“Higher average prices in 2017 reflect price increases in the second half of 2016 because of a hot summer and declining production, which reduced the inventory excess compared with the previous five-year average,” EIA said.
EIA also reduced its forecast for U.S. dry natural gas production in 2017 to 73.78 billion cubic feet per day, up slightly from 72.4 Bcf/d in 2016.
This means that dry gas production would drop for the second year in a row when compared to the record high of 74.14 Bcf/d produced on average in 2015.
Net exporter of natural gas
According to EIA, the U.S. is expected to become a net exporter of natural gas for the year in 2018, with net exports averaging 0.6 Bcf/d.
Natural gas pipeline exports increased by 21.7% to 5.9 Bcf/d in 2016, largely because of rising exports to Mexico. EIA expects pipeline exports of natural gas to increase by 0.1 Bcf/d in 2017 and by 0.4 Bcf/d in 2018.
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports rose from almost zero in 2015 to an average of 0.5 Bcf/d in 2016 with the startup of Cheniere’s Sabine Pass LNG liquefaction plant in Louisiana, which sent out its first cargo in February last year.
LNG exports are expected to average 1.4 Bcf/d in 2017 as Sabine Pass ramps up capacity in the middle of the year, EIA said.
In 2018, LNG exports are forecast to average 2.6 Bcf/d. The 2018 growth is driven by the expected start of Cove Point LNG in Maryland in December 2017 and new projects at Cameron LNG and Freeport LNG on the Gulf Coast during the second half of 2018, the agency added.
LNG World News Staff