GAS PRICES EXPECTATIONS 2018 - 19
EIA expects the Henry Hub natural gas spot price to average $2.88 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2018 and $2.92/MMBtu in 2019, slightly lower than the 2017 average of $2.99/MMBtu. Lower prices in 2018 and 2019 reflect EIA's expectation of increased natural gas production and relatively flat consumption.
The confidence interval range for natural gas prices shown in the figure above is a market-derived range that reflects trading in New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) futures and options markets and is not directly dependent on EIA's supply and demand estimates. The values for the upper confidence interval increase during the winter months compared with the rest of the year, reflecting the higher probability of an increase in natural gas consumption for space heating as a result of colder weather.
EIA expects natural gas consumption will increase slightly in both 2018 and 2019. On an annual basis, EIA expects combined residential and commercial natural gas consumption to increase by 1.3 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2018 because of colder weather closer to the recent historical average after a very warm early 2017, then remain nearly the same in 2019.
The United States became a net exporter of natural gas on an annual basis for the first time in 2017, with net exports averaging 0.4 Bcf/d. This trend is expected to continue, with net natural gas exports forecast to average 2.3 Bcf/d in 2018 and 4.6 Bcf/d in 2019.
Most of the projected increase in U.S. natural gas exports is expected to come from exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG). EIA expects gross exports of LNG to average 3.0 Bcf/d in 2018 and 4.8 Bcf/d in 2019, up from 1.9 Bcf/d in 2017, as new export terminals in Maryland, Georgia, Texas, and Louisiana come online. Exports of natural gas by pipeline to Mexico are expected to increase by 0.6 Bcf/d and 0.8 Bcf/d in 2018 and 2019, respectively, with total pipeline exports averaging 8 Bcf/d in 2019. By 2019, exports of natural gas by pipeline slightly exceed imports of natural gas by pipeline.
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