NEW YORK, Nov 13 (Reuters) - The U.S. Energy Information Administration on Wednesday raised its estimate for domestic natural gas production in 2014, expecting output next year to be up more than 1 percent from 2013’s estimated record-high levels.
In its November Short-Term Energy Outlook, the EIA said it expected marketed natural gas production in 2014 to rise by 0.74 billion cubic feet per day from 2013 to 71.03 bcf per day. That would be up 0.6 bcfd, or 0.9 percent, from its October outlook of 70.43 bcf daily.
If the forecast is realized, it would be the fourth straight year of record production.
The agency noted that output over the last few months has hit record high levels even as prices declined.
Growth has mostly been driven by rising production from the Marcellus shale play in Appalachia, which has more than outpaced declines in offshore Gulf of Mexico and Haynesville shale output.
Pipeline imports from Canada are expected to continue to decline next year, falling to 7.4 bcf daily from the 7.53 bcfd estimated in 2013.
EIA slightly raised its estimate for gas consumption in 2014, but still expects usage to slip 0.8 percent from 2013 levels to 69.6 bcf per day. The agency’s October estimate for 2014 demand was 69.42 bcf daily.
EIA said higher gas prices should continue to contribute to demand declines from the electric power sector.
EIA said that coal used for power generation will rise from 37.4 percent in 2012 to 39.4 percent in 2013 and 40.2 percent in 2014. Natural gas used for power generation, meanwhile, was expected to decline from 30.4 percent in 2012 to 27.4 percent in 2013 and 26.9 percent in 2014, EIA said
EIA forecast Henry Hub natural gas prices in 2013 to average $3.68 per million British thermal units, down 3 cents from its October estimate but 34 percent above 2012’s estimated average of $2.75.
In 2014, EIA expects gas prices to rise 16 cents, or 4.3 percent, to $3.84 per mmBtu.