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Reports: 2023 was a record year for natural gas consumption

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Last year was a record year for domestic natural gas consumption, and its supply wouldn’t have been possible without record U.S. production, led by Texas, according to several reports.

Texas produced the equivalent of one-third of the natural gas consumed last year, with Texas producers breaking multiple records last year, The Center Square reported.

In 2023, Americans consumed 89.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas as a primary energy source. Natural gas was the top energy source powering homes and businesses. Last year’s consumption was “the most on record,” the U.S. Energy Information said in a recent report. Since 2018, domestic natural gas consumption has increased by an average of 4% annually, according to EIA’s analysis.

U.S. natural gas consumption also set annual and monthly records during 2023. Monthly natural gas consumption set new record highs every month from March through November 2023. The largest monthly increases were seen in July and August, which set monthly records, “despite cooler-than-normal temperatures than during those months in 2022,” EIA said.

Over the years, domestic natural gas consumption has increased as coal-fired electric-generating capacity decreased. “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,” EIA said.

EIA also reported that last year, Texas’ oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs) production reached new highs. In an analysis of the EIA data, a Texas Oil & Gas Association report found that last December, Texas’ NGL exports were the greatest since 2010, The Center Square reported.

This is after the U.S. became the world’s largest LNG exporter in the first half of 2022, made possible by the Gulf states of Texas and Louisiana. Texas produced roughly a quarter of America’s natural gas supply at the time, according to the EIA. The U.S. has been able to meet increasing natural gas demand from European and Asian countries “largely thanks to Texas energy production and export infrastructure,” according to a report by Texans for Natural Gas, the educational arm of the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO).

Despite the policies of the Biden administration, the Texas legislature, Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas producers have helped stabilize the energy market, Ed Longanecker, president of TIPRO and TNG spokesperson, told The Center Square. The Texas legislature has prioritized legislation to encourage domestic production and its state regulatory agency has implemented measures to ensure increased safety.

Texas producers in the Permian Basin, the powerhouse of U.S. production, have also made unprecedented strides in technological advancements leading to emissions reductions, The Center Square has exclusively reported. From 2011 to 2021, methane emissions intensity in the Permian Basin fell by more than 76% as production increased by over 345%, The Center Square first reported. According to TNG’s latest report, Permian Basin methane intensity fell by nearly 85% between 2011 and 2022, as new production records were also reached during the same time period.

“The United States broke production records in 2023, producing 37 trillion cubic feet of natural gas with Texas also reaching new highs and delivering 12 trillion cubic feet of natural gas into the American and global supply chain,” Longanecker told The Center Square. “As TNG recently highlighted, a strong supply of U.S. natural gas, largely supplied by Texas, has kept domestic energy markets stabilized as the power sector increases its natural gas demand and our LNG market grows.

“It’s no secret that natural gas is and will remain a critical fuel source for our country and allies as we work towards a reliable and resilient lower-emission economy. Last year’s high consumption figures are a testament to that. American and Texan natural gas producers are proving an ability to not only meet local and global demand, but an ability to do so responsibly.”

As the Biden administration has introduced policies to limit LNG exports, block domestic production on federal lands, and advance federal regulatory restrictions on the industry while also advancing subsidies for “renewable” energy companies, Longanecker points out, “Natural gas is critical to keeping the lights on. Time and time again, we’ve seen natural gas deliver dispatchable power when the grid faces strains on supply amid demand spikes. From heatwaves to winter storms, natural gas will only grow in importance as the amount of intermittent power sources on the grid increases. To put it simply, our grid will fail if left to renewables alone.”