Due to the rapid rise in the development of shale gas, natural gas surpassed coal as the most-produced domestic fuel in 2011, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Thursday.
Gas production was 23.5 quadrillion Btu (quads) in 2011 compared to coal’s 22.2 quads, according to the EIA. Gas accounted for nearly 39% of the 60.6 quads of domestic fossil fuel produced last year, which exceeded the previous record of 59.3 quads in 1998. One quad is equal to about 1 Tcf of natural gas.
Production of crude oil, which experienced a long decline from 20.4 quads in 1970 to 10.5 quads in 2008, rose to almost 12 quads in 2011, the EIA said. And natural gas plant liquids, which are distinct from “dry” natural gas, climbed to their highest level, 2.9 quads in 2011, the agency said.
Overall in 2011, the United States produced about 78 quads of energy, more than at any point in the nation’s history, according to the EIA. More than three-quarters of the energy production came from nonrenewable fossil fuels: coal, natural gas, crude oil and natural gas plant liquids.
But despite rising production, the agency said the United States remained a net energy importer, consuming more than 97 quads of energy in 2011.
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