As much colder temperatures move into the U.S. Northeast next week, a special supplement released today by the U.S. Energy Information Administration looks at how natural gas supply constraints in New England could affect the region’s energy prices. In fact, spot prices of natural gas for delivery between Saturday, January 19 and Tuesday, January 22 exceeded $14 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) at some Northeast locations. This is about four times higher than the $3.54 price for the same delivery period reported at Henry Hub, the benchmark location for pricing natural gas in the United States.
EIA posted the supplement on its website.
Highlights of the supplement:
- Since November, New England has had the highest average spot natural gas prices in the nation. Full pipelines from the west and south limit further deliveries from most of North America, while high international prices and declining production in eastern Canada pose challenges in making up the difference from the north and east, except at higher prices.
- As a result of these market conditions, New England natural gas and electric power prices this winter will be volatile at times. During November and December, spot natural prices in the northeastern United States went up and down in relation to weather-driven pipeline constraints.
- These price movements have continued into January 2013 so far. Looking to the rest of this winter, recent forward market prices indicate that New England’s high natural gas prices could persist and rival northwestern European prices, which could lead to an increase in LNG imports.