U.S. sets natural gas consumption record

EIA notes increased use of natural gas in power generation

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports the U.S. set an all-time natural gas consumption record in 2023.

The EIA said 89.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas was consumed in the United States last year. Since 2018, U.S. natural gas consumption has increased by an average of 4% annually.

“Monthly natural gas consumption set new records every month from March 2023 through November 2023,” the EIA reported. “U.S. natural gas consumption has risen in the electric power sector as coal-fired electric-generating capacity has declined.”

The largest monthly increases in natural gas consumed by the electric power sector were in July and August. Natural gas consumption in the electric power sector, which typically increases in July and August to meet air-conditioning demand, increased by 6% in July and August 2023 compared with those months in 2022, setting monthly records of 47.5 Bcf/d in July and 47.2 Bcf/d in August.

U.S. coal production units are retiring as the nation’s coal fleet ages and coal-fired generators are replaced by generators using natural gas and renewables. Although natural gas-fired power generation increased by 6% in July and August of 2023 compared with a year earlier, overall electricity growth year-on-year was flat in July at 412 billion kilowatthours (kWh) and rose just 3% in August to 410 billion kWh.

The largest increase in natural gas consumption by a U.S. economic sector in 2023 came in the electric power sector, which increased 7% (2.2 Bcf/d) from 33.2 Bcf/d in 2022 to a record of 35.4 Bcf/d.

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