In 2018, more than 90% of the natural gas consumed in the United States was produced domestically, according to the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA).

U.S. natural gas production and consumption have both increased since the mid-2000s, and both dry -- or consumer-grade -- natural gas production and consumption reached record highs of about 30 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in 2018. In both 2017 and 2018, annual dry natural gas production exceeded consumption for the first time since 1966, EIA said.

(To see a larger version of the flow diagram click here.)

Flow diagram from wellhead to end use. Credit: EIAFlow diagram from wellhead to end use. Credit: EIAProduction has grown in the past decade as the adoption of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques has allowed producers to more economically produce natural gas from shale formations. EIA said that shale gas now makes up a higher percentage of total U.S. production than natural gas produced from both traditional wells and from crude oil wells as "associated" natural gas.

Smaller volumes of natural gas are also produced from coal seams, called coalbed methane.

Significant amounts of natural gas are also added to or withdrawn from storage throughout the year. Natural gas is added, or injected, to storage during periods of low demand, typically during the spring and fall. It is withdrawn from storage during periods of high demand, typically in the winter and summer. Natural gas is stored in large volumes in underground facilities and in smaller volumes in above-ground tanks, sometimes as LNG.

In 2018, the country exported nearly 4 Tcf of natural gas, either by pipeline to Mexico and Canada or shipped overseas as liquefied natural gas. Credit: Consumers EnergyIn 2018, the country exported nearly 4 Tcf of natural gas, either by pipeline to Mexico and Canada or shipped overseas as liquefied natural gas. Credit: Consumers EnergyGross withdrawals of natural gas and other compounds extracted at the wellhead in 2018 totaled 37 Tcf, with more than half coming from shale gas wells. Marketed natural gas production (which excludes natural gas used for repressuring the well, vented and flared gas and any nonhydrocarbon gases) was nearly 33 Tcf. Marketed natural gas was further processed into 30 Tcf of dry natural gas and 2 Tcf of natural gas plant liquids.

Credit: EIACredit: EIANatural gas exports have also increased and recently have surpassed natural gas imports. The United States became a net exporter of natural gas in 2017, EIA said. In 2018, the country exported nearly 4 Tcf of natural gas, either by pipeline to Mexico and Canada or shipped overseas as liquefied natural gas (LNG). Natural gas imports that year were 3 Tcf, the lowest since 2015.

(Read "Global demand for natural gas will fuel LNG export projects.")

Credit: EIACredit: EIAIn 2018, more than two-thirds of the dry natural gas consumed in the U.S. was used by the electric power and industrial sectors. Smaller amounts of natural gas were consumed by the residential, commercial and transportation sectors, exported to other countries or added to storage.

The U.S. electric power sector has been the largest end user of natural gas in three of the last four years, surpassing the industrial sector for the first time in 2012. In 2018, about 35% of the natural gas consumed in the U.S. was used by the electric power sector to generate electricity and heat.

The industrial sector consumed 34% of natural gas in 2018 for process heating, as fuel for combined heat and power plants and as raw material (feedstock) to produce chemicals, fertilizer and hydrogen. The residential and commercial sectors use natural gas mainly for heating.