EIA Predicts Natural Gas Prices in 2018 & 2019 Will be “Flat”

The price of natural gas is a complicated subject. First, “the price” is never just “the price.” Many people look to the NYMEX or Henry Hub spot price as “the price.” Indeed, most of the financial contracts for natural gas are based on the Henry Hub price. However, as we’ve written many times over the years, gas is bought and sold at hundreds of points along major interstate natural gas pipelines. The price at one place on a pipeline, like the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Zone 4 in northeastern Pennsylvania, is vastly different from the Henry Hub. Price is dependent on many factors–supply and demand to be sure. But also weather. Weather is probably the biggest influencer of natgas prices. Why? The warmer (or colder) it is, the more natural gas is used to cool or heat homes and businesses. The more demand, the higher the price. Conversely, the less demand, the lower the price. Henry Hub is a useful yardstick and the most-watched natural gas price in the world. Our favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, recently published their Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO). In the STEO, EIA predicts the price of natural gas at Henry Hub will remain relatively flat both this year and next year. This year (2018), EIA says the average price of gas at Henry Hub will be $2.88 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf). Next year? EIA says the price will average $2.92/Mcf. The average price of gas at Henry Hub for all of 2017 was $2.99/Mcf. Bottom line: The price of gas is a bit depressing for gas drillers for the foreseeable future. Here’s EIA’s reasoning…

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