Tag Archives: short term energy outlook

Data Watch: US Natural Gas Monthly Production October 2013 Plus a Review of EIA’s Medium- and Long-Term Forecasts

Apologies for the late reporting of this number; my brain has been occupied with job-eating robots and computers for the last few weeks (and another post on this theme to come).

Apart from getting the latest monthly US natural gas number, I also want to do a quick catch up on The Energy Information Administration (EIA)’s “Annual Energy Outlook 2014″, which came out in mid-December and the “Short Term Energy Outlook” that came out on January 7th with new 2015 numbers.

But first the monthly number: the US government agency the EIA issues data on U.S. natural gas production, including shale gas, on a monthly basis with a lag of roughly two months. The latest data release was made on January 7th, and covers the period up until end-October 2013.

Data is reported in billion cubic feet (bcf). Key points:

  • October 2013 natural gas dry production: 2,007 bcf, plus 0.6% year-on-year
  • Average monthly production for the 12 months to October 2013: 2,015 bcf, +0.7% over the same period the previous year

Since the end of 2011, production growth has stalled (click chart below for larger image), with the year-on-year 12-month average now flat-lining.

US Dry Gas Production Oct 2013 jpeg

Natural gas well-head prices exhibit seasonality, with winters generally seeing stronger prices due to heating needs. The recent polar-vortex induced cold snap in the U.S. has also been supporting prices over recent weeks (here, click for larger image).

US Nat Gas Spot Prices Jan 14 jpeg

To put the current price of $4.5 per million Btu in perspective, a longer term monthly time series going up until end December 2012 is given below (click for larger image). Continue reading

Does Shale Gas Make You High?

In my weekend links, I highlighted a much-talked-about paper by Texas University’s Bureau of Economic Geography on the Texas Barnett shale. The paper is currently undergoing peer review, so all we have is a well-publicised preview. The Wall Street Journal, for example, ran a column on the paper here.

Let’s start by taking the key graphic that accompanies the Texas University press release:

Barnett Shale jpeg

The granular data supporting the paper goes up to 2010. The most important prediction coming out of the chart for me is that gas production for the Barnett shale has already peaked. True, it has not collapsed—and it is not forecast to collapse, but it is now in a rather gentle decline.You can roughly see from the chart that production peaked at 2 trillion cubic feet (tcf) in 2012 and is forecast to decline to 0.8 tcf in 2030.

Let us now put this in the context of The Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook 2013 Early Release forecast for natural gas production through 2035. In short, the Barnett shale reached around 10% of overall U.S. natural gas production at its peak, but is now a net drag on year-on-year growth. And, of course, traditional natural gas production is also a net drag on year-on-year growth.  Continue reading