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U.S. natural gas prices surge to highest level in 13 years

Linkedin Twitter Facebook pinterest               Date:2022.4.29

According to a report by Bloomberg News on April 18, 2022, U.S. natural gas prices soared to a 13-year high, and strong domestic demand tested the ability of U.S. shale gas drillers to expand supply.

The price of natural gas futures in New York rose 4.8% on April 18 to $7.652 per million British thermal units, surpassing the short-selling squeeze in January and about double the level at the beginning of the year.

The last time gas prices were this high was in 2008 when hurricanes threatened offshore gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico and hot summer weather pushed up demand for air-conditioning power. At the time, prices had only begun to fall as the broader economic outlook dimmed ahead of the historic global financial crisis.

The rise in natural gas prices this year has been driven by a global fuel shortage. A global fuel shortage is rippling across markets, with suppliers struggling to cope with a post-pandemic surge in consumption, further exacerbated by military conflict. U.S. natural gas prices have been well below Europe and Asia due to abundant shale gas reserves, but that discount has been narrowing.

Reserve natural gas inventories in underground caverns were lower than normal for the same period in previous years, and production was flat. At the same time, the United States is exporting all possible LNG to help Europe reduce its reliance on the supply of energy giants.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, from April 25 to May 1, temperatures will be below normal in parts of the northern United States. This could increase the demand for fuel for heating and power plants, leading to a diversion of supply that is normally stored at this time of year. U.S. coal shortages have also pushed up natural gas prices, limiting the ability of power generators to switch fuels.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported last week that U.S. natural gas inventories rose by 15 billion cubic feet in the week to April 8, but less than half the average increase over the past five years. U.S. natural gas inventories remain 18% below normal levels.

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