US natural gas output at highest point since May

Natural gas production in the Lower 48 US averaged 72.3 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) in September, up nearly 0.4 bcf/d vs. the August average, according to Bentek Energy, an analytics and forecasting unit of Platts. On a month-over-month basis, September natural gas production was up less than 1% from August.

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) won't publish its domestic production estimates for September for a couple months. The EIA is due to report data for August on or around Oct. 30.  

"The month-on-month US natural gas production jump can be attributed almost entirely to the Northeast," said Sami Yahya, Bentek energy analyst. "While most of the upcoming pipeline expansion projects in the Northeast are slated for a Nov. 1 release date, some projects came online ahead of schedule. Northeast gas production shot to a record 20.8 bcf/d in September, which marks a month-on-month increase of nearly 0.45 bcf/d between August and September."

Yahya said that the Northeast is helping offset declines coming from various regions in the US. "Whether the declines are caused by maintenance events or shut-ins that are due to crumbling commodity prices, the Northeast is helping keep US natural gas production afloat,” Yahya said. "Between August and September, production from the Southeast region dropped by more than 0.1 bcf/d, while Texas shed about 0.05 bcf/d. The remaining US basins were relatively flat during the same time period. Given that the Northeast is expected to add another 2.4 bcf/d in November, US dry gas production is set to reach new highs and average a little less than 74 bcf/d by year end."

Bentek data analysis suggests that 2015 US natural gas production will average approximately 72.2 bcf/d, with growth occurring throughout the year. This will mark a year-over-year growth of 3.4 bcf/d vs. 2014.

The Bentek data analysis is based on an extensive sample of near real-time production receipt data from the US Lower 48 interstate pipeline system. Platts' Bentek production models are highly correlated with, and provide an advance glimpse of, federal government statistics from the US EIA. 

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