EMF Publications

EMF OP 59 Industrial Natural Gas Consumption in the United States: An Empirical Model for Evaluating Future Trends

Occasional Paper

Hillard G. Huntington - Stanford University

Published by
Stanford University, 2007

This study develops a statistical model of industrial US natural gas consumption based upon historical data for the 1958-2003 period. The model specifically addresses interfuel substitution possibilities and changes in the industrial economic base. Using a relatively simple approach, the framework can be simulated repeatedly with little effort over a range of different conditions. It may also provide a valuable input into larger modeling exercises where an organization wants to determine long-run natural gas prices based upon supply and demand conditions. Projections based upon this demand framework indicate that industrial natural gas consumption may grow more slowly over the next 20 years than being projected by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). This conclusion is based upon the assumption that natural gas prices will follow oil prices, as they have done over recent decades. If natural gas prices should lag well below oil prices, as envisioned by the latest EIA outlook, industrial natural gas consumption should rapidly expand well beyond the levels being projected by EIA.