(Adds natural gas, coal and carbon emissions data)
Sept 9 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas production and demand will drop in 2020 from record highs last year as coronavirus lockdowns cut economic activity and energy prices, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in its Short Term Energy Outlook (STEO) on Wednesday.
The EIA projected dry gas production will drop to 89.88 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) in 2020 and 86.59 bcfd in 2021 from the all-time high of 92.21 bcfd in 2019.
It also projected gas consumption would fall to 82.68 bcfd in 2020 and 79.14 bcfd in 2021, from a record 84.97 bcfd in 2019.
That would be the first annual decline in consumption since 2017 and the first time demand has fallen for two consecutive years since 2006.
EIA’s projections for 2020 in September were higher than its August forecasts of 88.65 bcfd for supply and 82.42 bcfd for demand.
The agency forecast U.S. liquefied natural gas exports would reach 6.27 bcfd in 2020 and 8.73 bcfd in 2021, up from a record 4.98 bcfd in 2019. That is higher than its August forecasts of 5.54 bcfd in 2020 and 7.28 bcfd in 2021.
U.S. coal production is expected to fall 28% to 511 million short tons in 2020, which would be its lowest level since 1964, before rising to 600 million short tons in 2021 when power plants are expected to burn more coal due to a forecast increase in gas prices, EIA said.
It projected carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels will fall to 4.618 billion tonnes in 2020, the lowest since 1986, from 5.130 billion tonnes in 2019, the lowest since 1992, before rising to 4.841 billion tonnes in 2021 as power generators burn more coal. (Reporting by Scott DiSavino Editing by Marguerita Choy and Richard Chang)
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