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US cuts natgas 2017 output growth forecast, raises 2018 outlook

NEW YORK (Reuters) — US natural gas production growth is expected to surge in 2018, after rising more modestly in 2017, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a monthly report Tuesday.

US dry natural gas production was forecast to rise to 73.45 Bcfd in 2017 from 72.85 Bcfd in 2016, according to the EIA's Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO).

The latest November output projection was a little lower than EIA's 73.63-Bcfd forecast in October and falls short of the record high 74.14 Bcfd produced on average in 2015.

The EIA also projected natural gas production would rise to 78.90 Bcfd in 2018, up from a forecast of 78.49 Bcfd issued in October.

Total gas consumption in the US is likely to fall slightly in 2017 to 73.06 Bcfd from 75.1 Bcfd a year earlier. Total consumption is expected to rebound in 2018 to 76.83 Bcfd.

However, natural gas usage in US homes is expected to grow in both years, rising slightly to 11.90 Bcfd in 2017 and climbing to 12.89 Bcfd the following year.

“We foresee a likely rebound in average household residential consumption of natural gas this winter, as we expect temperatures to be closer to average and therefore colder than last year,” said John Conti, acting EIA administrator.

Reporting by Jessica Resnick-Ault; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Marguerita Choy

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