U.S. natural gas production sets records, becomes net exporter for first time in nearly 60 years

Published on April 12, 2018 by Chris Galford

© Shutterstock

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that the nation set two records for natural gas production last year, in both gross withdrawals — 90.9 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) — and marketed natural gas production — 78.9 Bcf/d.

The only area in which it failed to set a new record was dry natural gas production, which failed to exceed 2015 levels. Beginning last July, however, natural gas gross withdrawals climbed for five straight months to reach a monthly high of 96.7 Bcf/d in December, while marketed natural gas production reached a monthly high of 84 Bcf/d.

Accordingly, the volume of natural gas exports also rose. Both pipelines and liquefied natural gas operations increased by a total of 36 percent and made the United States a net natural gas exporter for the first time in nearly 60 years.

These reports were collected from monthly oil and natural gas production data from a sampling of operators on wells scattered across 15 states, the Gulf of Mexico and the remaining states combined with Pacific Offshore operations. Specifically, marketed production comes from gross withdrawals minus the natural gas used in the repressuring of reservoirs, quantities vented or flared, and nonhydrocarbon gases removed while treating or processing.

Dry natural gas — consumer-grade natural gas — was the only thing that did not benefit. It reached only 73.6 Bcf/d.

Dry natural gas production in 2017 remained lower than previous highs set in 2015 on an annual level at 73.6 Bcf/d. Dry natural gas is consumer-grade natural gas, or marketed production minus extraction losses.