U.S. dry natural gas production was down for a 13th consecutive month in March, reaching 2.22 Tcf (71.6 Bcf/d), a 2.4% decline from 2.28 Tcf (73.4 Bcf/d) in March 2016, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Domestic dry gas production declines began early last year, and for all of 2016 production was an estimated 26.5 Tcf (72.4 Bcf/d), down compared with the record 27.1 Tcf (74.2 Bcf/d) in 2015, but still greater than the 25.9 Tcf (71.0 Bcf/d) recorded in 2014, according to EIA's latest Natural Gas Monthly report.
Production estimates are based on data from the EIA-914, Monthly Crude Oil, Lease Condensate, and Natural Gas Production Report.
While dry gas production trends downward, natural gas consumption increased in March, EIA said, reaching 2.51 Tcf (80.8 Bcf/d), a 6.2% increase compared with 2.36 Tcf in March 2016. Consumption ended 2016 at 27.5 Tcf (75.1 Bcf/d), an increase from 27.3 Tcf (74.7 Bcf/d) in 2015.
Year-over-year total consumption of dry natural gas in March increased in three of the four consuming sectors. Residential deliveries were 582 Bcf (18.8 Bcf/d), a 26.8% increase compared with March 2016; commercial deliveries were 370 Bcf (11.9 Bcf/d), a 23.3% increase; and industrial deliveries were 689 Bcf (22.2 Bcf/d), a 4.1% increase and the highest for March since EIA began tracking them in 2001.
Electric power deliveries were 667 Bcf (21.5 Bcf/d), a 10.2% decrease from March 2016, EIA said.
Net imports of natural gas were just 6.3 Bcf in March, down sharply from the 45.8 Bcf EIA reported for March 2016. That number was driven lower in large part by 129.9 Bcf of exports to Mexico via pipelines (compared with 103.4 Bcf in March 2016) and another 99.5 Bcf being piped to Canada (compared with 81.4 Bcf). In addition, total liquefied natural gas exports in March were 45.6 Bcf, up from 10.1 Bcf in March 2016, according to EIA data.