The Wild Ride for NatGas Prices in the Northeast

The price that utility companies and large users of natural gas pay at the pipeline is a lot higher than the price drillers sell it for. Like, multiples higher. However, the pipeline sale price does influence how much drillers will receive. Natural gas is a commodity, and like all commodity markets, the price of gas depends on supply and demand. Since gas is sold at hundreds of market points along transmission pipelines across the country, there are hundreds of different, tiny “markets” of supply and demand.

Platts issued an interesting press release/article yesterday about the yo-yoing price of gas right now due to the extreme cold in the northeast and Midwest. While some Marcellus gas is sold by drillers for under $3 per thousand cubic feet (or Mcf, which is the same unit as one million Btus, or MMBtu), some of that same gas is being purchased down the pipeline for upward of $60 per Mcf (or MMBtu)! The current situation is an extreme price spike and it won’t last, but it illustrates just how widely prices can swing in the natgas market…

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