US Natural Gas Output Down 1.1% in January

US domestic natural gas production in the lower 48 states averaged 65.0 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/day) in January 2014, according to the latest estimates from Bentek Energy, the oil and natural gas analytic unit of Platts. This is down 1.1 percent from December 2013, but on a year-over-year basis it is up 3.2 percent from January 2013.

The recent and persistent cold in the US Northeast and Midwest affected overall production in January given that wells can freeze during very cold weather, according to Bentek.

Last week, because of high natural gas demand in the Northeast due to extreme cold weather, natural gas was in short supply in Southern California, leading California’s Independent System Operator (CaISO) to call a statewide Flex Alert, according to renewable energy analyst Paul Gipe. The alert is the lowest level in CaISO’s emergency notifications.

“The shortage comes at time when the continent believes – rightly or wrongly – that it is awash in natural gas,” said Gipe. “Whether this is true or not, the gas does nothing for anyone in the ground. It has to be extracted, processed, and transported to where it is needed.”

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