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EIA releases natural gas consumption and export data

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In 2020, both natural gas consumption by the US electric power sector and natural gas exports reached record highs, despite a 2% annual decline in domestic dry natural gas production. Dry natural gas production does not include natural gas plant liquids (NGPL), such as ethane and propane. In 2020, NGPL production grew to a record-high 2.7 trillion ft3, up 7% from 2019, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The US natural gas flow diagram shows the volume of US natural gas supply (production, imports, and withdrawals from storage) and disposition (consumption, exports, and additions to storage) in 2020.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review.

Natural gas consumption in the US electric power sector grew to a record-high 11.6 trillion ft3 in 2020, up 3% compared with 2019. The US electric power sector has consumed more natural gas than any other sector in five of the past six years. Electric power was the only sector that increased its natural gas consumption in 2020, the EIA reports.

Natural gas has become an increasingly important source of energy for US electricity over the past several years. Natural gas has remained the primary source of electricity generation in the US since it surpassed coal in 2016. More than 100 coal plants have been replaced with or converted to natural gas since 2011.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review.

US natural gas exports increased to a record-high 5.3 trillion ft3 in 2020, up 13% compared with 2019. US exports of natural gas have grown substantially over the past decade, and in 2017, exports surpassed imports of natural gas for the first time since 1957. Approximately 55% of US natural gas exports in 2020 were sent by pipeline to Mexico and Canada. Most of the rest was shipped overseas as LNG. Mexico receives more US natural gas exports than any other country, and US natural gas exports to Mexico reached a record high of 2.0 trillion ft3 in 2020. US LNG exports also increased to a record high in 2020, and almost half went to Asia. Natural gas imports in 2020 decreased to less than 2.6 trillion ft3, the lowest level since 1993. Nearly all US natural gas imports originate from Canada, the EIA states.

US dry natural gas production in 2020 decreased 2% compared with 2019 to 33.4 trillion ft3, in part because of warmer weather, lower natural gas prices, and economic impacts related to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the EIA. Natural gas production in the US has generally increased over the past decade because of widespread adoption of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques that allow operators to more economically produce natural gas from shale formations.

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US LNG news LNG export news LNG as fuel news EIA LNG news