Natural gas prices reach lowest level since 2016, lowest February prices since 2001

Published on February 19, 2020 by Kevin Randolph

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The closing near-month natural gas futures price at the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) on Feb. 10 was the lowest since March 8, 2016, and the lowest February closing price for the near-month contract since at least 2001, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said recently.

On Feb. 10, the near-month natural gas futures price at NYMEX closed at $1.77 per million British thermal units (MMBtu), according to Bloomberg, L.P. and FRED data.

The daily spot price at the Henry Hub national benchmark was $1.81/MMBtu on Feb. 10, according to Natural Gas Intelligence data. This price is the lowest in real terms since March 9, 2016, EIA said.

This winter heating system, Henry Hub spot prices have ranged between $1.81/MMBtu and $2.84/MMBtu, largely because relatively warm winter weather reduced demand for natural gas for heating, according to EIA. Natural gas production, EIA said, has grown faster than demand, reducing the amount of natural gas withdrawn from underground storage.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), January 2020 was the fifth-warmest January in its 126-year climate record. This winter, U.S. residential natural gas customers have seen 11 percent fewer heating degree days than the 30-year average.

In EIA’s most recent short-term forecast, more natural gas remains in storage levels than the previous five-year average through the rest of the winter.