December Natural Gas Production Sets New Record
Last year ended with another record-setting month for the world's largest natural gas producer, as the U.S. produced all-time record amounts of both gross withdrawals and dry production (consumer-grade gas) in the month of December, according to new data released this week by the Energy Information Administration (see chart above). The record-setting gross volume in December (2.56 trillion cubic feet) was above its year-earlier level by 7.1%; and the all-time high for monthly dry gas production was 8.2% above last December, and surpassed two trillion cubic feet for only the second month ever.
Over the last five years as unconventional shale gas has become increasingly more available due to advanced extraction techniques (fracking and horizontal drilling), domestic production of natural gas has increased by more than 30%. Welcome to America's new age of energy abundance with enough natural gas to last into the 22nd century, according to some estimates.
According to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, "Shale Gas: A Renaissance in U.S. Manufacturing?" the global consulting firm predicts that abundant, cheap shale gas will spark a U.S. manufacturing renaissance over the next several years, with the potential to create a million new jobs by 2025 and reduce annual energy costs for American manufacturers by almost $12 billion over the next decade.
Update 1: Here's another benefit from the shale revolution: In the last two years, 106 coal plants (319 units) in the U.S. have either closed or are scheduled for pending closing, partly due to abundant shale gas and low natural gas prices.
Update 2: Does the U.S. really have a 100-year supply of natural gas? Yes, according to this recent Reason article "100 Years of Natural Gas."