Despite recent rises in natural gas prices, the industrial sector continues to consume more natural gas, according to an Energy Information Administration (EIA) report released today.
Industrial natural gas use increased a seasonally adjusted 3% for the first five months of 2013, the equivalent of 600 million cubic feet per day. That's compared to the same period in the previous year. As industries continue to recover from the economic recession, corporations are gobbling up gas for a plethora of purposes, including firing boilers for steam, melting metal for steel, baking pulp for paper, and energizing generation facilities for heat and electricity for factories.
While a 3% increase may not seem like much, industrial energy use tends to be slower and steadier than the electric sector. That means that, despite recent increases in natural gas prices, corporations are sticking with gas and its historically low price. In its report, the EIA notes that "if natural gas prices remain low, the industrial sector is poised to grow, and existing industrial natural gas consumers stand to become increasingly competitive both here and abroad."
This latest news comes one day after the EIA announced that coal, arguably natural gas' chief fossil fuel competition, hit record export levels for May.