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The Most Important U.S. Energy Trends from 2019

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2019 was another banner year for the U.S. energy industry.

With continued growth in U.S. natural gas production and exports, 2019 was, in many ways, the culmination of several major industry trends.       

We recently sat down with Direct Energy Business president John Schultz to distill some of last year’s biggest energy developments. Listen in below: 

 

It was not long ago that the U.S. was a net energy importer and possessed significant concerns over energy independence. All of that changed in 2011 when the U.S. became one of the world’s largest producers – and now net exporter – of natural gas. 

 

Crude Oil Production & Exports

One of the year’s most important storylines can be found in the growth in U.S. crude oil production. In 2018, the U.S. produced 10.7 million barrels per day (b/d). In 2019, domestic production has grown to 12.5 million b/d. 

U.S. crude oil exports have grown in tandem with production. In the first half of 2019, U.S. crude oil exports averaged 2.9 million b/d – an increase of nearly one million barrels over the first half of 2018. While Canada continues to receive the bulk share of U.S. crude oil exports, exports spiked to other top destinations in the first half of the year: South Korea (246 percent), India (114 percent) and Netherlands (192 percent). One notable exception was China, where U.S. oil exports were down nearly two-thirds.  

 

Natural Gas Production & Exports 

It was a similar story for U.S. dry natural gas production. Last year, domestic production averaged about 81 billion cubic feet/day (Bcf/d). In 2019, such production grew to 89 Bcf/d.  

In recent years, the sustained growth in U.S. natural gas production – coupled with historically low natural gas prices – led the country to export more natural gas. In fact, in 2017, the U.S. became a net natural gas exporter – or, exported more natural gas than it imported – for the first time in nearly 60 years. 

U.S. natural gas exports grew to a tune of 2.0 Bcf/d in 2018. However, that number more than doubled to a whopping 4.1 Bcf/d in the first half of 2019. 

What has accounted for the dramatic spike in natural gas exports? 

For starters, Canada and Mexico have continued to receive the lion’s share of U.S. natural gas exports via pipeline. Beyond pipeline exports, U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) have continued to grow with several new LNG facilities coming online in 2019.      

Looking forward, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects U.S. net natural gas exports to average 4.6 Bcf/d in 2019 and swell to a staggering 7.2 Bcf/d in 2020



Stay tuned to the Direct Energy Business Blog as we look ahead to 2020's mot likely trends.  

 

Posted: January 13, 2020

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