Natural gas consumption in the United States was lower in 2020 in all sectors except electric power, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported.
U.S. natural gas end-use deliveries in 2020 declined in three out of four consuming sectors relative to 2019, according to EIA’s Monthly Natural Gas.
Despite mild winter weather and the economic effects of Covid -19, the second-highest annual amount of natural gas was delivered in the United States to end users in 2020, averaging 75.8 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf / d) during the year.
Previously, the highest annual amount of natural gas consumption in the United States occurred in 2019, when end-use deliveries reached 77.6 Bcf/d.
The electric power sector consumed the highest amount of natural gas of any sector: 31.7 Bcf/d in 2020, a 2% increase from the previous year.
In 2020, natural gas prices were the lowest in decades.
In fact, lower natural gas prices made natural gas more competitive in the electric power sector, especially compared to coal.
The generation of electric power based on natural gas has been growing throughout the United States.
Natural gas generation replaced much of the generation lost from coal plant retirements in recent years, making natural gas the main input fuel for power generation nationwide.
Natural gas accounted for nearly 40% of all power generation in 2020, representing more generation than coal and nuclear power, the next two largest sources, combined.
Industrial consumption of natural gas in the United States decreased 2% in 2020.
Covid-19-related shutdowns and lower demand reduced industrial consumption for much of the year.
Industrial natural gas consumption has increased in eight of the last 10 years due to growth in dry natural gas production and relatively low natural gas prices.