December 2021 —
As we draw 2021 to a close, the natural gas market has experienced one of the most volatile years in the last three decades—from the damaging impact from Winter Storm Uri in February to natural gas shortages in Europe and Asia.
WARM WEATHER COOLS DOMESTIC DEMAND
In October, U.S. natural gas prices reached a 12-year high as the U.S. had a lower-than-normal supply heading into winter. Then with record high temperatures throughout most of November, prices receded as demand decreased. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), domestic natural gas consumption for December 2-8 dropped over 7 percent compared to the same time last year. While storage remains nearly 10 percent under last year, the U.S. is now just 2.5 percent down from the five-year average of working gas in storage.
U.S. ON TRACK TO BECOME THE LARGEST EXPORTER OF NATURAL GAS
With European natural gas inventories 20 percent below normal and Asia also experiencing a shortage, traders around the world are purchasing all the liquified natural gas (LNG) the U.S. can produce. With natural gas prices in Europe and Asia at nearly $40 per dekatherm, the export market has become very attractive for production companies. Since the U.S. started exporting LNG in 2016, it quickly grew to be the third-largest exporter of LNG behind Australia and Qatar. With seven new LNG facilities coming online later next year, the U.S. will surpass Australia and Qatar to become the world’s largest exporter of LNG. As the U.S. LNG exports continue to grow, U.S. consumers could be more vulnerable as domestic natural gas will have a larger impact from global markets. As always, if you have any questions regarding this information, please reach out to your local WoodRiver energy consultant.
Market Data – December 2021