By Kate Brannen and Andrew Harrer/BloombergThe United States’ natural gas consumption has fallen for three straight years, but it’s still far from the levels seen before the global financial crisis, according to a new study.
The United Nations has been warning for months that a rapid drop in natural gas prices would make the nation a net exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), which can be used in everything from power plants to cars and trucks.
But the study released Tuesday by the International Energy Agency (IEA) found that U.S. demand in 2017 fell by nearly 4 percent, to just under 11 billion cubic feet per day.
The reason is not because of a decline in gas production, the IEA said.
Instead, demand fell because the energy sector was forced to ramp up production and export liquefiers to other markets in the United States.
The drop in demand was partly due to a surge in domestic gas production from the shale gas boom, but the IIA said the U.N. report didn’t account for the surge.
It added that gas prices have remained low, even as demand has grown and production has declined.
The IEA also found that in 2018, the U,S.
imported just 0.9 percent of its LNG exports, which is about what was the case for 2016 and 2017.
That’s down from 1.4 percent in 2015.
The IEA did not say when the drop in imports occurred.
The report also found a sharp rise in imports from Canada in 2017.
The country exported a net 1.1 percent of LNG in 2018.
“The U.C.S., Canada, and Mexico, which account for 90 percent of U.M.L. imports, imported more LNG from the IAEA-led Global Energy Outlook for 2019 than any other country,” said the report.
The U,s., imports of liquied natural-gas (Lng) are expected to grow to around 14 billion cubic meters in 2021, the report said.
The number of Lng exports to China is forecast to double, reaching more than 10 billion cubic m per year by 2035.
The country that has been cutting back on its natural gas use is the U.,s., said the IPA.
That has led to an oversupply of natural gas for domestic use in some parts of the country, and also has been contributing to a decline of domestic natural gas production.
“The drop-off in natural-source gas use in the U.;U.S.;andCanada was the result of reduced production, lower prices, and a slowdown in natural resource development,” said IEA senior energy economist Robert J. Rifkin in a statement.
“These are the natural drivers of gas demand declines, and the resulting price declines.”
Rifkin said the decline in natural production would have an impact on demand in other countries.
But he added that the U.’s decline would not have a major impact on U. S. domestic demand.
“Even if the U .
S. were to become a net LNG exporter, it would still need to export a lot of LgN for domestic consumption,” Rifkins said.
Other countries, including Canada, have been importing more Lng than the U.?s.
China is the world’s largest LNG importer, importing more than 4.2 billion cubic yards in 2017, while Russia is expected to increase its Lng imports to around 3.6 billion cubic acres by 2021.