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EIA Says U.S. Produced, Consumed Record Levels of NatGas in 2013

The United States produced, consumed and delivered for consumption record levels of natural gas in 2013, and imports fell for the sixth consecutive year, according to an annual report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Meanwhile, in a separate monthly report, the EIA said production in August rose in the Lower 48 and "Other States" production.

According to the 213-page Natural Gas Annual, released Friday, domestic dry production totaled 24.3 Tcf (66.7 Bcf/d) in 2013, up 1.3% from the 24.0 Tcf produced in 2012. Production from shale gas wells -- measured before several factors, including repressuring, venting and flaring -- increased 12.9% during the same time frame, from 10.5 Tcf in 2012 to 11.9 Tcf in 2013.

The EIA said there were 487,286 producing wells at the end of 2013, up 0.9% from the 482,822 wells producing at the end of 2012.

Ohio posted the largest increase in dry gas production, percentage-wise, more than doubling from 0.2 Bcf/d in 2012 to 0.5 Bcf/d in 2013. But Pennsylvania saw the largest total gain in production during the same time frame, increasing from 6.13 Bcf/d in 2012 to 8.86 Bcf/d in 2013. Total marketed production for 2013 was about 186.2 Bcf in Ohio and 3.26 Tcf in Pennsylvania.

The total amount of gas delivered to customers for consumption hit a record 23.8 Tcf in 2013, up 1.6% from the 23.4 Tcf delivered in 2012. But while consumption by residential, commercial and industrial customers, as well as the amount used for vehicle fuel, all rose between 2012 and 2013, the amount used for electric power fell 10.5%, from 9.1 Bcf in 2012 to 8.2 Bcf in 2013. Residential rose the most, from 4.15 Bcf in 2012 to 4.91 Bcf in 2013, an increase of 18.4%.

For the sixth year in a row, natural gas imports to the United States fell. According to the EIA, the United States in 2013 imported 2.88 Tcf, down 8.1% from 3.14 Tcf imported in 2012. Most (97%) came via pipeline from Canada (2.79 Tcf) and Mexico 1.07 MMcf. The rest of the imports came via liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments from a handful of countries, led by Trinidad & Tobago, at 69.7 Bcf. The 2.88 Tcf import mark was also the lowest since 1995.

As with imports, natural gas exports from the United States also declined, from 1.62 Tcf in 2012 to 1.57 Tcf in 2013, a decline of about 2.9%. Nearly all of the exports (99.8%) went to Canada (911.0 Bcf) and Mexico (658.4 Bcf) via pipeline. The EIA said it was only the third time since 1996 that U.S. gas exports have declined year/year.

In a separate report, also released Friday, the EIA said gross withdrawals of natural gas in the Lower 48 states was 79.6 Bcf/d in August, a 6.9% increase over the 74.5 Bcf/d withdrawn the previous August. Meanwhile, gross withdrawal from the Other States category rose 18.8% (5.04 Bcf/d) during the same time frame, from 26.8 Bcf/d in August 2012 to 31.8 Bcf/d in August 2013.

"Other States had the largest volume increase at 2.4% (0.74 Bcf/d), which was a result of many new wells coming online," the EIA said. "Texas was up 1.1% (0.26 Bcf/d), because of new wells coming online and the opening of previously shut-in wells. Wyoming production showed the largest decrease at 2.2% (0.12 Bcf/d) caused primarily by equipment problems and maintenance."

In a note Monday, David Tameron, senior analyst for Wells Fargo Securities LLC, called the growth in Other States production "quite impressive."

"Other States posted the largest volumetric increase...on [the] continued ramp up of [the] Marcellus and Utica [shales]," Tameron said.

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