U.S. natural gas production will edge up in 2021, while demand declines for a second year in a row as rising gas prices allow renewables and coal to take some of gas’ market share in the power sector, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in its Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) on April 6.

The EIA projected dry gas production will rise to 91.41 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2021 and 93.29 Bcf/d in 2022 from 91.36 Bcf/d in 2020. That compares with an all-time high of 93.06 Bcf/d in 2019.

It also projected gas consumption would fall to 82.93 Bcf/d in 2021 and 82.07 Bcf/d in 2022 from 83.26 Bcf/d in 2020. That compares with a record high of 85.15 Bcf/d in 2019.

If the outlook is correct, 2021 would mark the first time that consumption falls for two consecutive years since 2006, and 2022 would be the first time it falls for three years since 1983.

The EIA’s projections for 2021 in April were higher than its March forecasts of 91.35 Bcf/d for supply and 82.52 Bcf/d for demand.

The agency forecast LNG exports would reach 8.46 Bcf/d in 2021 and 9.22 Bcf/d in 2022, up from a record 6.53 Bcf/d in 2020.

The EIA projected coal production will rise to 585.3 million short tons in 2021 and 601.7 million short tons in 2022 from 539.1 million short tons in 2020, its lowest since 1965, as power plants burn more coal due to a forecast increase in gas prices.

The EIA projected carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels will rise to 4.820 billion tonnes in 2021 and 4.938 billion tonnes in 2022 as power generators burn more coal. That is up from 4.571 billion tonnes in 2020, the lowest since 1983.