DOE - Fossil Energy Techline - Issued on:  November 29, 2005

DOE Seeks Comments on Natural Gas Supply and Demand

Washington, DC - The Department of Energy today announced that it is seeking public and stakeholder comments on the outlook for natural gas supply and demand, as requested by Congress and the recently enacted Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Natural gas is a critical source of energy and raw materials, comprising the second largest source of energy in the United States. Most analysts agree that current higher natural gas prices are the result of a shifting supply/demand balance.  After more than a decade of relative stability in U.S. natural gas consumption, production, and prices, many believe that the U.S. market could enter a period where future demand growth will outpace domestic supply, and the United States will be ever more challenged to balance natural gas supply and demand. 

The Energy Policy Act, signed into law in August, 2005, requires the Secretary of Energy to submit to Congress a report on balancing the nation’s natural gas supply and demand.
As outlined in the Act, a natural gas supply that is balanced with demand will provide a host of benefits to the nation.  These benefits include:

  • providing residential consumers with natural gas at reasonable and stable prices;
  • accommodating long-term maintenance and growth of domestic natural gas dependent industrial, manufacturing, and commercial enterprises;
  • facilitating the attainment of national ambient air quality standards under the Clean Air Act;
  • achieving continued progress in reducing the emissions associated with electric power generation; and,
  • supporting the development of the preliminary phases of hydrogen-based energy technologies.  

Specifically, the Department of Energy is seeking comments on:

  • What is the outlook for balancing natural gas supply and demand through 2015 to ensure reliable and affordable energy for American consumers, economic growth and prosperity in the United States, and a healthier environment? This outlook is not constrained and could, for example, include demand side management practices and uses of alternative sources of natural gas and synthetic gas or other energy resources.

    What data and analyses – other than the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Short-Term Energy Outlook and Annual Energy Outlook and reports of the National Petroleum Council (an advisory body to the Secretary of Energy), such as the Council’s 2003 report on Balancing Natural Gas Policy: Fueling the Demands of a Growing Economy  – provide valuable insights on:

    • annual natural gas demand in the United States through 2015;
    • annual natural gas supplies from domestic and international sources for meeting U.S. energy needs through 2015; or,  
    • the relative economic and environmental impacts associated with Federal policies for decreasing natural gas demand and increasing natural gas supplies?
  • What actions should the Federal government undertake for balancing natural gas supply and demand to achieve positive, national economic, energy and environmental outcomes? These actions may include those that industry, States and consumers would primarily implement but could be facilitated by Federal government actions.  
  • Comments should be submitted no later than January 19, 2006. Comments may be sent electronically via the link above, or in writing to:
    U.S. Department of Energy
    Office of Fossil Energy (FE-30)
    ATTN: Trudy Transtrum or Nancy Johnson
    1000 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC 20585

In addition to written comments, DOE is also hosting a roundtable discussion on December 19-20, 2005, involving experts in natural gas supply and demand, as well as representatives of States, consumers and other organizations. The meeting will be held at the Mayflower Hotel at 1127 Connecticut Avenue, NW, in Washington, DC, convening on December 19 from 12:45 pm to 5:30 pm, and December 20 from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. Please contact Nancy Johnson on 202-586-6458 if you would like to attend.

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For more information, contact:

  • News Media: John Grasser, Fossil Energy Office of Communications, 202-586-6503
  • General Information: Trudy Transtrum, DOE Office of Fossil Energy, 
  • General Information: Nancy Johnson, DOE Office of Fossil Energy,