UPDATE 1-EIA raises 2012 US natgas output, consumption growth estimates
* EIA sees 2012 gas output at record-high 68.98 bcfd
* 2012 gas demand seen up 3.3 bcfd (4.9 pct) from 2011 (New throughout, adds consumption, LNG and price data, background)
NEW YORK, July 10 (Reuters) - The U.S. Energy Information Administration on Tuesday raised its estimates for domestic natural gas production and consumption growth in 2012.
In its July Short-Term Energy Outlook, the EIA said it expected marketed natural gas production in 2012 to rise by 2.8 billion cubic feet per day, or 4.2 percent, to a record 68.98 bcfd, up from its June outlook that had output this year at 68.47 bcf daily.
EIA sees production growth slowing next year, reflecting dry gas drilling rig declines, but still expects output to be up by another 0.69 bcfd, or 1 percent, to 69.67 bcfd, another record.
Declines in production have not accompanied declines in the gas-directed rig count, which slid to a 13-year low two weeks ago, according to data from Baker Hughes.
Horizontal rigs, the type most often used to extract oil or gas from shale, are hovering just shy of the record high 1,193 hit in May.
Drillers continue to move rigs to more profitable shale oil and shale gas liquid plays that still produce plenty of associated dry gas that ends up in the market after processing.
The agency also raised its estimate for consumption this year, expecting demand to climb 3.3 bcfd, or 4.9 percent, from 2011 to 69.91 bcf daily. EIA's previous estimate for consumption in 2012 was 69.46 bcfd.
EIA expects a 21 percent jump in electric power use in 2012, primarily driven by utilities switching from pricier coal to gas for power generation, to more than offset declines in residential and commercial use.
Growth in gas consumption is expected to slow in 2013, rising about 1.7 percent to 71.12 bcf per day.
The EIA revised down its forecast for liquefied natural gas imports this year as rocketing domestic production lessens the need for gas from overseas.
The EIA expects imports to fall 44 percent from 2011 levels, to 0.6 bcf per day, according to Tuesday's report, down from 0.7 bcf per day forecast in last month's report. Imports in 2013 are expected to be flat with 2012.
The EIA expects Henry Hub natural gas prices NG-W-HH in 2012 to average $2.58 per million British thermal units, up slightly from last month's outlook of $2.55 but about 35 percent below 2011's estimated average of $4.
In 2013, the EIA sees prices rising 64 cents, or 25 percent, to $3.22 per mmBtu. (Reporting By Joe Silha. Additional reporting by Edward McAllister and Eileen Houlihan; Editing by David Gregorio)
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