US natural gas output will set a record this year

U.S. natural gas output will reach 73 billion cubic feet a day for the first time this year as new pipelines tap into shale supplies stranded in the Marcellus formation in the Northeast, a new government report showed.

Marketed gas output in the lower 48 states will increase 4 percent from 2013, setting a record for the fourth straight year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Short-Term Energy Outlook, released Tuesday in Washington. The production estimate was raised from 72.26 billion in last month’s report as “several new projects to support Marcellus production have either recently come on line or will begin operations later this year,” the government said.

The EIA left its 2014 price outlook unchanged at $4.74 per million British thermal units as the gains in shale output are partly offset by increased gas use. Gas inventories fell to an 11-year low in March after a frigid winter spurred record demand and hampered production, according to the EIA.

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