US NG Net Exporter For Second Year in a Row
“Natural gas storage inventories entered the winter season on November 1 at significantly lower levels than in previous years, which contributed to unusual price volatility and price increases in later months of the year” (EIA). 2018’s average annual Henry Hub natural gas spot price increased to $3.16/MMBtu, which is 15 cents higher than the average in 2017. “Growing U.S. production and low temperatures during the winter months supported increased natural gas consumption through 2018. In addition, continued increases of U.S. natural gas exports by pipeline to Mexico and additional LNG export capacity that came online during the year resulted in the U.S. exporting more natural gas than it imported for the second year in a row” (EIA). The EIA’s latest Inventory of Electric Generators report expects 23.7 GW of new capacity additions and 8.3 GW of capacity retirements for the U.S. electric power sector in 2019. The utility-scale additions consist primarily of wind (46%), natural gas (34%), and solar photovoltaics (18%). The remaining 2% of capacity additions consist primarily of other renewables and battery storage capacity.
Natural gas pricing plays a key role in electricity power pricing due to the increasing reliance on natural