Electric plants gobble natural gas at record pace

Direct Energy's Frontera natural gas power plant in South Texas has a capacity of 494 megawatts. (Photo: Direct Energy)
A natural gas power plant in south Texas. (Photo: Direct Energy)

Natural gas is having a record summer. Oil and gas producers are pulling more out of U.S. wells than they have in decades, and U.S power plants are using even more than is produced.

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During one week last month, the country posted a net summer withdrawal for the first time in 10 years, according to a report released Monday by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The department’s Energy Information Administration said record consumption of natural gas for electric power generation required 6 billion cubic feet of natural gas storage inventories, the first nationwide withdrawal since 2006.

Total natural gas inventories, however, still stand at 3.3 trillion cubic feet, 16 percent higher than recent five-year averages.

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