U.S. dry natural gas production was forecast to rise to an all-time high of 80.3 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2018 from 73.57 Bcf/d in 2017, according to the Energy Information Administration's (EIA) short-term energy outlook on Feb. 6.
The latest February output projection for 2018 was down from the EIA's 80.42-Bcf/d forecast in January but would easily top the current annual record high of 74.15 Bcf/d produced on average in 2015.
EIA also projected U.S. gas consumption would rise to an all-time high of 77.44 Bcf/d in 2018 from 74.29 Bcf/d in 2017.
That 2018 demand projection in the February outlook report was down from EIA's 77.53-Bcf/d forecast for the year in its January report but would easily top the current annual record high of 75.1 Bcf/d consumed on average in 2016.
Both production and consumption would jump to record highs in 2019 with output hitting 82.86 Bcf/d and usage reaching 79.2 Bcf/d, the EIA forecast.
In electric generation, the EIA projected gas would remain the primary U.S. power plant fuel in 2018 and 2019 after taking that title from coal for the first time ever in 2016. Coal had been the primary fuel for U.S. generators for the last century.
The EIA projected gas' share of generation would rise to 33% in 2018 and 33.9% in 2019 from 31.7% in 2017.
Coal's share of generation was forecast to slide to 29.7% in 2018 and 28.8% in 2019 from 30.2% in 2017.
Wind power capacity was expected to rise to about 95 gigawatts (GW) by the end of 2018 and 104 GW by the end of 2019, from about 87 GW in 2017.
The EIA said it expected solar power capacity to rise to 50 GW by the end of 2018 and 65 GW by the end of 2019 from 42 GW in 2017.
One gigawatt is enough to power about 1 million U.S. homes.
After declining to 5,143 million tonnes in 2017, the least since 1992, the EIA projected U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions would rise to 5,237 million tonnes in 2018 and 5,259 million tonnes in 2019 due to changes in weather, economic growth, and energy prices, the EIA said.