NEW YORK, Dec 10 (Reuters) - The U.S. Energy Information Administration raised its estimate on Tuesday for domestic natural gas production in 2014, expecting output next year to be up 1.4 percent from 2013’s estimated record-high levels.
In its December Short-Term Energy Outlook, the EIA said it expected marketed natural gas production in 2014 to rise by 0.98 billion cubic feet per day from 2013 to 71.43 bcf per day, up from its November outlook of 71.03 bcf daily.
If the forecast is realized, it would be the fourth straight year of record production.
Growth has mostly been driven by rising production in 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 decline slightly next year, falling to 7.54 bcf daily from the 7.56 bcfd estimated in 2013.
EIA slightly lowered its estimate for gas consumption in 2014, expecting usage to slip 1.6 percent from 2013 levels to 69.58 bcf per day. The agency’s November estimate for 2014 demand was 69.6 bcf daily.
EIA said higher gas prices should continue to contribute to demand declines from the electric power sector.
Coal used for power generation was expected to rise from 39.3 percent in 2013 to 39.9 percent in 2014. Natural gas used for power generation, meanwhile, was expected to decline from 27.5 percent in 2013 to 27.2 percent in 2014.
EIA forecast Henry Hub natural gas prices in 2013 to average $3.69 per million British thermal units, up 1 cent from its November estimate but 34 percent above 2012’s estimated average of $2.75.
In 2014, EIA expects gas prices to rise 9 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $3.78 per mmBtu.