2003 Production Up, Demand Down
Early estimates indicate that natural gas production increased by about 2.1 percent in 2003. Natural gas production is expected to continue to expand modestly through 2005, as natural gas well completions, which totaled an estimated 20,000 in 2003, continue to grow to between 21,000 and 22,000 wells per year over the next 2 years. Natural gas demand is expected to have declined by 3.7 percent in 2003 largely because high prices discouraged demand in the industrial and electric power. However, expected growth in the economy, along with somewhat lower projected annual average prices, are expected to increase demand by about 2.2 percent in 2004. Demand in 2005 is expected to increase by 1.1 percent as the economy continues to expand and prices ease slightly.