The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports dry natural gas production in the U.S. was 82.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in August, up 0.7 Bcf/d from July.
Dry natural gas production is forecast to average 81.0 Bcf/d in 2018, up by 7.4 Bcf/d from 2017 and establishing a new record high. EIA expects natural gas production will continue to rise in 2019 to an average of 84.7 Bcf/d.
The EIA forecasts that U.S. natural gas inventories will total 3.3 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) at the end of October. This level would be 13% lower than the 2017 end-of-October level and 14% below the five-year (2013–17) average for the end of October, while also marking the lowest level for that time of year since 2005. EIA expects Henry Hub natural gas spot prices to average $2.99/million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2018 and $3.12/MMBtu in 2019. NYMEX futures and options contract values for December 2018 delivery that traded during the five-day period ending September 6, 2018, suggest a range of $2.31/MMBtu to $3.77/MMBtu encompasses the market expectation for December Henry Hub natural gas prices at the 95% confidence level.
The EIA also expects the share of U.S. total utility-scale electricity generation from natural gas-fired power plants to rise from 32% in 2017 to 34% in 2018 and to 35% in 2019. EIA’s forecast electricity generation share from coal averages 28% in 2018 and 27% in 2019, down from 30% in 2017. The nuclear share of generation was 20% in 2017 and is forecast to be 20% in 2018 and 19% in 2019. Nonhydropower renewables provided slightly less than 10% of electricity generation in 2017, and EIA expects them to provide more than 10% in 2018 and nearly 11% in 2019. The generation share of hydropower was 7% in 2017 and is forecast to be about the same in 2018 and 2019.