Less natural gas was used in the United States in February than in the second month of 2015, while production was up, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Dry gas production was 2.18 Tcf in February, a 5.8% increase compared with 2.06 Tcf in February 2015, according to EIA’s latest Monthly Energy Review (MER), which was released Wednesday. Dry gas production in February 2014 was 1.89 Tcf, EIA said.

At the same time, marketed production in February reached 2.32 Tcf, compared with 2.19 Tcf in February 2015 and 2.00 Tcf in February 2015. Marketed production through the first two months of 2016 was 4.77 Tcf, EIA said, up from 4.58 Tcf last year and 4.21 Tcf in 2014.

Marketed production averaged 78.9 Bcf/d last year (a 5.4% increase from 2014), and EIA has said it expects growth will slow to 0.9% this year as low natural gas prices and declining rig activity begin to affect output (see Daily GPI, March 8). But in 2017 EIA expects production growth to increase to 2.1%, as forecast prices rise, industrial demand grows, and liquefied natural gas exports increase.

The United States was the largest producer of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons in 2015 (see Daily GPI, May 23).

Consumption numbers, which had started the year higher, slipped in February, EIA said (see Daily GPI, April 26). Total natural gas consumption for the month was estimated at 2.70 Tcf, compared with 2.95 Tcf in February 2015. Consumption through the first two months of the year was 5.84 Tcf, off the 2015 two-month total of 6.08 Tcf and 2014’s 5.97 Tcf.

Consumption in the electric power sector increased to 692 Bcf in February, compared with 651 Bcf in the year-ago period, according to the MER. Consumption was also on the upswing in the industrial sector, coming in at 796 Bcf, compared with 782 Bcf in February 2015. But declines were reported from February 2015 in the residential sector (707 Bcf from 904 Bcf), the commercial sector (421 Bcf from 520 Bcf) and the transportation sector (88 Bcf from 95 Bcf).

Net imports of natural gas were down for the reporting period (87 Bcf in February, compared with 109 Bcf in February 2015), and were 189 Bcf through the first two months of 2015, down from 244 Bcf in the same period last year and 267 Bcf in 2014, EIA said.

EIA for the week ending May 13 reported a storage build of 73 Bcf, bringing natural gas inventories to 2,754 Bcf, 791 Bcf greater than last year and 795 Bcf more than the five-year average (see Daily GPI, May 19). Net storage withdrawals in February were 403 Bcf, compared with 741 Bcf during the same period last year, according to the MER.