U.S. natural gas demand is at a record – and prices keep dropping

(Reuters) – U.S. natural gas demand is at an all-time high and expected to keep rising – and yet, prices are falling. U.S. gas futures this week collapsed to a three-year low, while spot prices were on track to post their weakest summer in over 20 years. In other markets, such lackluster pricing would cause investment to retrench and supply to contract. But gas production is at a record high and expected to keep growing. Demand is rising as power generators shut coal plants and burn more gas for electricity and as rapidly expanding liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals turn more of the fuel into super-cooled liquid for export. Analysts believe the natural gas market is not trading on demand fundamentals because supply growth continues to far outpace rising consumption. Energy firms are pulling record amounts of oil from shale formations and with that oil comes associated gas that needs either to be shipped or burned off. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, gas futures NGc1 this week dropped to $2.03 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), the lowest since May 2016. For the summer, spot gas prices at the Henry Hub benchmark in Louisiana were on track to fall… continue reading

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