US Natural Gas Inventories Down From Last Year

By Nathan Worcester
Nathan Worcester
Nathan Worcester
Nathan Worcester is an environmental reporter at The Epoch Times.
August 13, 2021 Updated: August 15, 2021

Natural gas inventories in the United States are projected to be below average when the country begins to need heat for winter, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The EIA’s weekly report on natural gas storage, released Aug. 12, shows that the United States currently has over 2.7 trillion cubic feet of working gas in underground storage across the lower 48 states. That’s 16.5 percent less than the 3.3 trillion cubic feet of gas at the same time last year.

The EIA has projected that by Nov. 1, when winter heating season starts, the country will have just under 3.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in storage—159 billion cubic feet below the average over the past five years.

“U.S. production of dry natural gas has remained relatively flat, averaging 91.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) so far in 2021 (January–July), 0.4 Bcf/d below the same period in 2020,” the EIA noted.

In 2019, the United States produced a record-high average of 93.1 billion cubic feet of dry natural gas per day.

The EIA’s announcements come as natural gas prices trend upward, hitting $4.15 per million BTU as of Aug. 6.

An EIA spokesperson said that the high natural gas prices have made coal “a more cost-competitive fuel source for electricity generation,” boosting coal-related carbon dioxide emissions by 17 percent.

Overall, carbon dioxide emissions from the domestic energy sector have risen 7 percent in 2021 after declining 11 percent during 2020, a net decrease since the CCP virus pandemic reached the United States.

“Despite significant growth in energy-related CO2 emissions as the U.S. economy opens up, we don’t see these emissions returning to pre-pandemic levels, at least in the short term,” said EIA Acting Administrator Steve Nalley in a statement.

The EIA’s weekly report on petroleum inventories, released Aug. 11, shows a similar pattern to that of natural gas, with crude oil inventories roughly 6 percent lower than the five-year average for early August.

Crude oil imports through most of July were also 16.3 percent higher than during the same period in 2020.

At $75 per barrel, crude oil is now $25 per barrel more expensive than it was at the end of 2020, according to the EIA.

Since taking office, President Joe Biden has suspended oil and gas leasing on federal lands. The Biden administration has also aimed to sharply curtail greenhouse gas emissions, with Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) $3.5 trillion budget package on track to include a “methane polluter fee to reduce carbon emissions,” along with a “Carbon Polluter Import Fee.”

The United States has publicly called on OPEC+ nations to boost oil production as gas prices rise across the country, recently reaching a seven-year high.

When asked whether Biden administration policy actions or priorities were affecting oil and natural gas prices and storage, an EIA spokesperson stated that “the market is driving these trends.”

Nathan Worcester
Nathan Worcester
Nathan Worcester is an environmental reporter at The Epoch Times.