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EIA: September Gas Production Hit Lowest Monthly Total Since September 1989

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported in its latest Natural Gas Monthly that domestic dry natural gas production during the month of September fell to the lowest monthly total since September 1989. According to EIA, September 2005 dry gas production totaled 1,371 Bcf, or about 252 Bcf (8.4 Bcf/d) less than the 1,623 Bcf total one month earlier in August.

The sharp drop illustrates the severe impact on production operations from hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Peak offshore production shut-ins due to evacuations and infrastructure damage in the Gulf of Mexico reached 9.42 Bcf/d on Aug. 30 following Hurricane Katrina, according to data from the Minerals Management Service (MMS). Offshore production recovered somewhat after Katrina, but once Rita came ashore near Johnson's Bayou on Sept. 24, shut-ins quickly rose again to a post-Rita peak of 8.6 Bcf/d on Sept. 26.

According to the MMS, 2.964 Bcf/d of offshore production remains shut in out of an estimated total of 10 Bcf/d. MMS said cumulative offshore production shut-ins now total 498.3, which is an average of about 5.1 Bcf/d since Aug. 26. MMS said the cumulative shut-ins represent about 14% of annual Gulf of Mexico gas production.

While natural gas production suffered a major set back during the month of September, EIA reported that consumption also fell sharply. The commercial and industrial shut-down due to the hurricanes, the loss of fuel and the price of energy contributed to a 294 Bcf decline in consumption in one month. According to EIA, natural gas consumption dipped to a total of 1,429 Bcf in September, compared to 1,723 Bcf one month earlier in August. While there typically is a decline in consumption from August to September, the drop this year was much greater than in any of the previous years this decade. EIA shows industrial gas consumption during September was lower than during any other month since the agency started tracking it in January 2001.

For more from EIA's latest Natural Gas Monthly, go to http://www.eia.doe.gov.

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