Dry natural gas production rose 12% in 2018 and reached a record-high average of 83.8 billion cubic feet per day. The rise was the largest percentage increase since 1951 and the largest volumetric increase, dating back to 1930. U.S. natural gas consumption rose 11% in 2018, and the rise was driven by an increase in natural gas consumption in the electric power sector. Natural gas gross exports increased 14% to 10 billion cubic feet per day in 2018, from 8.6 billion cubic feet per day in 2017. The addition of liquefied natural gas export facilities contributed to the rise.
U.S. natural gas consumption increased in each end-use sector. Demand for natural gas as a home heating fuel was greater in 2018 than in 2017 because of slightly colder weather in the winter. Also, record-high temperatures in summer 2018 led to an increase in demand for air conditioning and electricity. Natural gas helped to meet the increased demand. Natural gas consumption by the U.S. electric power sector rose 14%, more than in any other end-use sector. Over the past decade, the electric power sector has been using more natural gas because of favorable prices and improved efficiency.
The rise in U.S. natural gas production was concentrated in the Appalachian, Permian and Haynesville regions. The Appalachian Basin is included in Pennsylvania and Ohio, and the states had the first- and third-largest year-over-year increases in production for 2018, rising by 2 billion cubic feet per day and 1.7 billion cubic feet per day, respectively. Louisiana had the second-largest volumetric increase in dry production, rising by 1.8 billion cubic feet per day as a result of increased production in the Haynesville shale formation. Texas remained the top natural gas-producing state, with a production level of 18.7 billion cubic feet per day, as a result of continued drilling activity in the Permian Basin in western Texas and eastern New Mexico.