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Dry Gas Production, Consumption Hit Record Highs in May, EIA Says

U.S. dry natural gas production in May was 2.28 Tcf (73.6 Bcf/d), a 5.9% increase compared with 2.16 Tcf (69.5 Bcf/d) in May 2014 and the highest for that month since the Energy Information Administration (EIA) began reporting dry gas production data more than five years ago, the agency said.

Through the first five months of 2015 domestic dry gas production was 11.15 Tcf, compared with 10.32 Tcf during the same period in 2014 and 9.94 Tcf during the first five months of 2013, according to EIA's most recent Natural Gas Monthly report. Dry gas production was 2.24 Tcf in April (see Daily GPIJuly 30).

The latest EIA data show that the rapid decline in the U.S. drilling rig count that began in December finally may be impacting domestic gas production. The 2.28 Tcf of dry gas production in May is a significant year-over-year increase, but slower than the 7.8-9.1% y/y growth posted in the first four months of the year.

Total U.S. natural gas production was 2.77 Tcf in May, up 4.0% compared with 2.67 Tcf in May 2014.

The national total was boosted by production increases from several areas. New Mexico reported 111.72 Bcf (up from 105.15 Bcf in May 2014); Oklahoma, 206.11 Bcf (up from 196.57 Bcf); Texas, 744.07 Bcf (up from 725.99 Bcf); and Federal Offshore Gulf of Mexico, 115.30 Bcf (up from 107.60 Bcf). But there were declines as well: Alaska reported 261.39 Bcf (down from 262.29 Bcf in May 2014); Louisiana, 163.42 Bcf (down from 173.20 Bcf); and Wyoming, 166.64 Bcf (down from 167.77 Bcf).

Last month, EIA for the first time included in the monthly natural gas production survey state-level data from 10 states, including some of the most shale-rich names previously grouped into its "Other States" category (see Daily GPIJune 30). Production in those 10 states in May was led by Pennsylvania, which reported 390.87 Bcf. Other states formerly grouped in the Other States category were Arkansas (90.97 Bcf), California (19.80 Bcf), Colorado (139.66 Bcf), Kansas (25.70 Bcf), Montana (4.87 Bcf), North Dakota (50.37 Bcf), Ohio (77.62 Bcf), Utah (38.54 Bcf) and West Virginia (115.83 Bcf). The restructured Other States category reported 51.50 Bcf.

Consumption numbers continue to rise as well, though they remain well below production. In May, 1.88 Tcf of natural gas was used, up 2.7% compared with 1.83 Tcf in May 2014, with a five-month total of 12.66 Tcf, compared with 12.36 Tcf during the same period last year. The May 2015 total is the highest on record for the month, dating back to 2001, EIA said.

But for the third consecutive month, total consumption of dry gas decreased in three sectors: residential was 5.7 Bcf/d, down 13.3% compared with May 2014; commercial was 5.1 Bcf/d, down 10.2%; and industrial was 19.5 Bcf/d, down 0.7%. Only electric power deliveries were higher, reaching 23.7 Bcf/d, a 13.6% increase, the second highest for the month on record, the agency said.

Net imports of natural gas fell to just 71 Bcf for the month, compared with 93 Bcf in May 2014.

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