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US natural gas demand slips, production holds steady amid warming

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Essential Energy Insights - February 2021

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US natural gas demand slips, production holds steady amid warming

Natural gas demand in the U.S. decreased in the week ended March 28 while supply held flat to the prior week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its latest "Natural Gas Weekly Update" released March 29.

Total U.S. consumption of natural gas fell 4% compared with the previous report week. Natural gas consumed for power generation held steady at an average of 23.2 Bcf/d, industrial-sector consumption decreased 1%, and consumption in the residential and commercial sector declined 9%.

Natural gas exports to Mexico were steady week on week, averaging 4.3 Bcf/d, while U.S. LNG exports increased week over week. Five LNG vessels with a combined carrying capacity of 18.2 Bcf departed the Sabine Pass liquefaction facility March 22-28. Two LNG vessels with a total carrying capacity of 7.0 Bcf were loading at the terminal March 28. The Dominion Energy Cove Point facility is expecting a second LNG vessel, scheduled to dock at the terminal April 9, and a third vessel is en route to the terminal, with an expected arrival of April 20, the EIA said.

U.S. supply was generally flat on the week, averaging 85.9 Bcf/d from 86.2 Bcf/d a week earlier. Dry natural gas production was constant week over week, and with warmer weather in the Northeast and New England, average net imports from Canada decreased 6% from the previous week.

In regard to inventories, net withdrawals from storage totaled 63 Bcf for the week ending March 23, above the respective year-ago and five-year average net withdrawals of 58 Bcf and 46 Bcf. Working gas stocks totaled 1,383 Bcf, which is 346 Bcf less than the five-year average and 672 Bcf less than 2017 at this time.

The EIA said that if net withdrawals from working gas stocks match the five-year average for the remainder of the withdrawal season, working gas stocks will total 1,356 Bcf by the traditional end of withdrawal season March 31, which is 17% lower than the five-year average.

Working gas stocks ended the 2013-2014 heating season at 837 Bcf, which is the lowest reported level for that time since 2010.