U.S. natural gas production will rise in 2021 after falling last year due to coronavirus demand destruction, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in its Short Term Energy Outlook (STEO) on Wednesday.
The EIA projected dry gas production will rise to 92.55 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) in 2021 and 96.41 bcfd in 2022 from 91.49 bcfd in 2020. That compares with an all-time high of 92.87 bcfd in 2019.
The agency also projected gas consumption would slide to 83.23 bcfd in 2021 and 82.59 bcfd in 2022 from 83.25 bcfd in 2020. That compares with a record high of 85.29 bcfd in 2019.
If the outlook is correct, 2021 would mark the first time consumption falls for two years in a row since 2006, and 2022 would be the first three-year decline since 1983.
The EIA's projections for 2021 in October were higher than its September forecasts of 92.18 bcfd for supply and 82.54 for demand.
The agency forecast U.S. liquefied natural gas exports would reach 9.71 bcfd in 2021 and 11.15 bcfd in 2022, up from a record 6.53 bcfd in 2020. That is higher than its September forecast of 9.58 bcfd in 2021 and 10.15 bcfd in 2022.
The EIA projected U.S. coal production will rise to 588 million short tons in 2021 and 622 million short tons in 2022 from 535 million short tons in 2020, its lowest since 1965, as power plants burn more coal due to a forecast increase in gas prices.
The EIA projected carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels will rise to 4.921 billion tonnes in 2021 and 4.931 billion tonnes in 2022 as power generators burn more coal.
That is up from 4.575 billion tonnes in 2020, which was the lowest since 1983.