Monday, November 7, 2011

How Cheap is Natural Gas?

How cheap is natural gas? The EIA tells us winter (November-March) natural gas futures prices are near their lowest levels since 2001-2002.

The average natural gas futures price for the upcoming winter is less than $4 per million British thermal units, the lowest level entering the winter since 2001-2002. The so called "winter strip," the average natural gas futures price for the contract months November through March as settled on the New York Mercantile Exchange is a closely followed measure of market participants' price expectations.

In markets such as New England and California, where natural gas prices often set on peak, wholesale power prices, the NYMEX winter strip for natural gas also can influence expectations for forward wholesale power prices.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on Bloomberg, L.P.
Note: October 20 was selected because it represents a date near the start of the natural gas winter heating season yet still has information for five months of the upcoming winter's natural gas NYMEX future's strip.

These prices do not reflect expectations for the cost of transporting natural gas from Henry Hub to downstream market locations. The Henry Hub, in Erath, Louisiana, is the physical delivery location for the NYMEX natural gas futures contract. Sabine Pipeline is the operator of the Henry Hub. 

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