U.S. natgas output seen up in 2017, but below 2015 record

(Reuters) - U.S. dry natural gas production was forecast to rise to 73.69 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) in 2017 from 72.29 bcfd in 2016, according to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Short Term Energy Outlook (STEO) on Tuesday.

The latest September output projection was higher than EIA’s 73.48-bcfd forecast in August but short of the record high 74.14 bcfd produced on average in 2015.

EIA also projected U.S. gas consumption would fall to 72.65 bcfd in 2017 from a record 75.11 bcfd in 2016. The 2016 high was the seventh annual demand record in a row.

That 2017 consumption projection in the September STEO report was down from EIA’s 72.62-bcfd forecast for the year in its August report.

EIA projected both production and consumption would rebound in 2018 to record highs with output hitting 78.12 bcfd and usage reaching 75.78 bcfd.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by David Gregorio