Natural Gas Inventories Fall


US natural gas inventories will end the heating season below 1 trillion cubic feet for the first time since 2003, according to the US EIA‘s latest Short-Term Energy Outlook.

The drop in natural gas inventories is due to large withdrawals of natural gas this winter to meet high heating demand. EIA expects growing natural gas production and moderate gas demand from the electric power sector will allow for a record build in natural gas stocks during the April-through-September injection season. EIA expects total natural gas consumption will average 71.3 Bcf per day in 2014, a drop of 0.1 per day from 2013.

The EIA projects renewables used for electricity and heat generation will grow by about 0.9 percent in 2014. EIA estimates that wind power capacity will increase by 8.3 percent in 2014 to about 65 GW by the end of the year and will increase 17.9 percent to total more than 77 GW at the end of 2015. Electricity generation from wind is projected to contribute 4.6 percent of total electricity generation in 2015. The EIA expects continued robust growth in solar electricity generation, although the amount of utility-scale generation remains a small share of total generation at about 0.4 percent in 2015.

Overall US electric generation over the past three months (December-February) is estimated to total about 5 percent more than generation during the same period last winter, primarily because of the much colder weather experienced in the eastern United States. The EIA projects total US electricity generation will average 11.3 TWh per day in 2014, an increase of 1.3 percent from last year.

Recent trends suggest that the US’s booming energy production market could replace automobile manufacturing as an economic powerhouse, according to a CNBC piece from earlier this month. The fortunes of the two sectors have been historically intertwined, but in recent years a massive increase in the production of shale gas – and the cheap energy it provides – is being felt across the economy, according to the news service.

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