Market Speaks: EIA Expects Strong Growth In US Natural Gas Production To Put Downward Pressure On Prices This Year

According to the Short Term Energy Outlook from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the Henry Hub natural gas spot price averaged $ 2.64/million British thermal units (MMBtu) in May, almost unchanged from April. EIA expects strong growth in US natural gas production to put downward pressure on prices in 2019. EIA expects Henry Hub natural gas spot prices will average $ 2.77/MMBtu in 2019, down 38 cents/MMBtu from 2018. EIA expects natural gas prices in 2020 will again average $ 2.77/MMBtu.

EIA forecasts that US dry natural gas production will average 90.6 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2019, up 7.2 Bcf/d from 2018. EIA expects natural gas production will continue to grow in 2020, albeit at a slower rate, averaging 91.8 Bcf/d next year. US natural gas exports averaged 9.9 Bcf/d in 2018, and EIA forecasts that they will rise by 2.5 Bcf/d in 2019 and by 2.9 Bcf/d in 2020. Rising exports reflect increases in liquefied natural gas exports as new facilities come online. Rising natural gas exports are also the result of an expected increase in pipeline exports to Mexico.

EIA estimates that natural gas inventories ended March at 1.2 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), 15% lower than levels from a year earlier and 28% lower than the five-year (2014–18) average. EIA forecasts that natural gas storage injections will outpace the previous five-year average during the 2019 April-through-October injection season and that inventories will reach almost 3.8 Tcf at the end of October, which would be 17% higher than October 2018 levels and about equal to the five-year average.