U.S. natural gas production was 2.65 Tcf in July, up 3.7% compared with 2.55 Tcf in July 2013, and total production through the first seven months of 2014 was 18.26 Tcf, up almost 5% compared to the same period last year, thanks in large part to the nation’s shale plays, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Domestic production, which had remained relatively stagnant for several years (between 23.46 Tcf and 24.66 Tcf from 2000-2007), began a steep acceleration coinciding with the blooming of the nation’s shale plays, reaching 25.64 Tcf in 2008, 26.06 Tcf in 2009, 26.82 Tcf in 2010, 28.48 Tcf in 2011 and 29.54 Tcf in 2012, according to EIA data.

Production through July this year was well beyond the first seven months of 2013 (17.39 Tcf) and 2012 (17.21 Tcf), EIA said in its latest Natural Gas Monthly report.

Total marketed production (wet) in July was 2.32 Tcf, compared with 2.21 Tcf in July 2013. Dry gas production was 2.18 Tcf, compared with 2.09 Tcf in July 2013. It was the fifth consecutive month of record high dry gas production, EIA said.

Production in the Other States category, which includes several shale-rich states, surged to 976.5 Bcf in July, compared with 807.4 Bcf in the year-ago period. Also showing increases were Texas (725.5 Bcf from 708.5 Bcf in July 2013) and Oklahoma (197.2 Bcf from 184.6 Bcf). Showing a decrease compared with July 2013 were Alaska (194.4 Bcf), Louisiana (166.6 Bcf), New Mexico (112.4 Bcf), Wyoming (167.9 Bcf) and the Federal Offshore Gulf of Mexico (105.0 Bcf).

EIA reported 127.4 Bcf of natural gas exports in July, compared with 128.6 Bcf in July 2013. In the first seven months of this year, there was a total of 906.6 Bcf of exports, down sharply from 966.3 Bcf in the same period in 2013. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports are up this year compared with 2013, while pipeline exports to Mexico and Canada have fallen off.

The United States took another step closer to more significant LNG exports this week when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) authorized Dominion Cove Point LNG LP to construct an LNG export facility in Calvert County, MD, and related facilities in Virginia (see Daily GPI, Sept. 30).

The project, the first on the East Coast to be greenlighted, would enable Dominion to transport up to 860,000 Dth/d from existing pipeline interconnects near the west end of the Cove Point pipeline to its terminal to export up to 5.75 million tons/year (0.8 Bcf/d) of LNG. FERC has approved three other LNG export projects, all in the Gulf of Mexico: the Sabine Pass Liquefaction Project, the Freeport LNG Project,and the Cameron LNG Project (see Daily GPI, June 19). Fourteen LNG export proposals are pending before FERC.