The U.S. boosted its outlook for 2012 natural gas prices and lowered its forecast for production, according to the Energy Department’s Nov. 6 Short-Term Energy Outlook.
Gas at the benchmark Henry Hub in Erath, Louisiana, will average $2.77 per million British thermal units, up from the previous estimate of $2.71, the department said.
Marketed gas production will average 68.84 billion cubic feet a day this year, up 4 percent from last year, according to the Nov. 6 report from the department’s Energy Information Administration.
“EIA expects some small declines in production in the coming months, related to recent drops in the rig count,” the department said in the report.
The number of rigs drilling for gas in the U.S. fell by 11 to 413 in the week ended Nov. 9, according to Baker Hughes Inc. in Houston. The rig count has dropped 49 percent this year.
The boom in oil and natural gas production helped the U.S. cut its reliance on imported fuel. America met 83 percent of its energy needs in the first six months of the year, department data show. If the trend goes on through 2012, it will be the highest level of self-sufficiency since 1991.
Gas futures volume in electronic trading on the Nymex was 338,237 as of 2:44 p.m., compared with the three-month average of 365,000. Volume was 248,229 yesterday. Open interest was 1.15 million contracts. The three-month average is 1.14 million.
The exchange has a one-business-day delay in reporting full volume and open interest data.