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First Quarter NatGas Consumption Down From Year Ago, But Power Sector Demand Climbs

Through the first three months of 2016, natural gas consumption in the power sector increased year/year, while residential and commercial consumption was down, according to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest Monthly Energy Review (MER).

Total electric power consumption for March was 740 Bcf, bringing total power sector consumption for the first three months of the year to 2.208 Tcf. The sector’s respective year-ago totals were 709 Bcf and 2.074 Tcf.

Residential and commercial consumption both declined year/year in March, totaling 457 Bcf and 299 Bcf, respectively, compared with 637 Bcf and 421 Bcf one year ago. Consumption through the first three months totaled 2.048 Tcf for residential and 1.224 Tcf for commercial, compared with 2.477 Tcf and 1.441 Tcf in the year-ago period, according to the MER.

Industrial demand for the first three months of 2016 remained relatively flat at 2.455 Tcf, compared with 2.426 Tcf in 2015.

Transportation sector demand accounted for 78 Bcf in March, down from 85 Bcf in March 2015.

Natural gas consumption across all sectors totaled 8.201 Tcf through the first three months of the year, down from 8.699 Tcf in the year-ago period, according to EIA. Total consumption for March came in at 2.375 Tcf, down from 2.617 Tcf in March 2015.

Production, meanwhile, continued to hold steady through March, with dry gas production totaling 6.773 Tcf for the first three months of 2016, up slightly from 6.607 Tcf in the year-ago period. March dry gas production totaled 2.294 Tcf, compared with 2.291 Tcf in March 2015, EIA’s report shows.

Natural gas imports for March were 240 Bcf, bringing the total through three months to 764 Bcf, down from 791 Bcf through the first three months of 2015.

Natural gas exports were outpacing 2015’s totals through three months this year, reaching 531 Bcf, compared with 453 Bcf in the year-ago period, according to EIA.

Last Thursday, EIA reported a weekly storage build of 62 Bcf, slightly above market expectations but below the five-year average (see Daily GPI, June 23). Net storage withdrawals for March were 59 Bcf, compared with 194 Bcf for March 2015, according to the MER.

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