The use of natural gas in the electric power sector was below 2012 levels for most of this year due to fuel prices and a cooler summer, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
EIA said natural gas consumption was, on average, down 13 percent through November of 2013, compared to an increase of 3 percent last year. The decline in use is due to relatively higher gas prices compared to coal and lower summer temperatures. The benchmark natural gas spot price on the Henry Hub averaged $3.68/MMBtu through November 2013, compared to $2.70/MMBtu through the same time period in 2012. Though it lost some of its power generation market share to coal, natural gas is still being used at rates generally above the 2007-2011 range.
The decline in gas prices delivered to power generators and the increased role of natural gas in power generation are applying downward pressure on coal prices, EIA said.
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