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EIA: Natural Gas Saw Record Demand in 2010

Domestic production increases as imports decline.

The United States had record natural gas consumption of 24.13 Tcf in 2010, the highest since the Energy Information Administration (EIA) started keeping records in 1973, according to trade data released by the EIA in its March energy review.

The only other years when demand came close were 2007 (23.10 Tcf) and 2008 (23.27 Tcf). Demand in 2009 fell off to 22.84 Tcf, the agency said.

The gain came on U.S. dry gas production as imports continued to slide lower. EIA estimated that dry gas production jumped 5% to 21.57 Tcf last year from 20.58 Tcf in 2009 due in part to the growing shale gas development throughout the country.

The EIA reported that marketed gas production, which includes natural gas liquids, rose 4% to 22.56 Tcf in 2010 from 21.60 Tcf in 2009.

And U.S. natural gas imports -- both liquefied natural gas and pipeline gas from Canada -- fell to 2.56 Tcf in 2010 from 2.68 Tcf in the prior year, according to the EIA.

Imports made up only 11% of U.S. consumption in 2010, significantly off the peak in 2007 when imports supplied 16.4% of U.S. consumption. In 2007 liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports hit 771 Bcf while pipeline deliveries from Canada were 4.7 Tcf. In 2010 only 431 Bcf of LNG was imported and a little over 2 Tcf came in through pipelines from Canada.

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