natural gas pipeline

The United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) believes there will be enough natural gas produced in the Mid-Atlantic and from Ohio’s Marcellus and Utica formations to meet the needs of consumers in other parts of the country.

In particular, the EIA said that the South Central region (TX, OK, KS, LA, AR, MS, AL) will demand more energy than the region is producing, which is where the Mid Atlantic and Ohio come into play.

“While the South Central region itself contains shale plays that produce natural gas, such as the Wolfcamp in the Permian Basin and the Haynesville, natural gas consumption in the region outpaces production in the Reference case. Requiring additional supplies of natural gas from other regions to meet growing demand both within the region and for liquefaction facilities that would export natural gas to other countries.”An EIA summary of the report said.

The findings were part of the EIA’s  2019 Annual Energy Outlook, in which they provide projections and analysis of various energy topics.

Regional Reversal From South to East, Ohio Continues

The report noted that the Marcellus and Utica shale plays produce will produce around 120 billion cubic feet per day by 2050, whereas they produced 75 billion cubic feet per day in 2017.

This increase in production continues the reversal trend, in which shale plays in the north provide outflow to the South Central region.

In 2008, the report notes, the South Central region moved about 12 billion cubic feet per day to the Northeast, whereas that number dropped to 5 billion cubic feet per day in 2013.

The report pointed out that one of the factors in this reversal was the increased capacity of the Marcellus and Utica Basins to transport gas out of the region.

“This reversal of flows was accompanied by increased bi-directional capacity on interstate pipelines and by new pipeline capacity to transport increased natural gas supplies from the Marcellus and Utica Basins to domestic and international demand market,” the EIA’s summary of the report said.

Continued increase in pipeline capacity is essential to the Northeast’s ability to meet demand in other regions, Natural Gas Analyst Raymond Sanzone told Energy Pages.

“While natural gas usage into the Northeast continues to rise it looks as if the projected supply increases will be able to keep pace using cheap abundant shale gas. As long as there are increases in the pipeline capacity into the region this natural gas will allow the markets to continue to flourish and provide long-term stable gas pricing to retail customers.”Natural Gas Analyst Raymond Sanzone told Energy Pages.

Other Findings in the Annual Energy Outlook

The EIA listed some of the other key findings of the report, some of which are as follows, per the EIA:

  • The U.S. will become a net energy exporter in 2020
  • Natural gas and natural gas pipelines have more production growth than all other fossil fuels
  • Natural gas prices continue to remain low
  • Energy efficiency will keep energy consumption “relatively flat”

Also, the EIA noted that low natural-gas prices mean that we should see an increase in electricity generation via natural gas and that there may be “additional retirements of less economic coal and nuclear plants.”

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