The relentless rise in natural gas prices continued on Oct. 6, highlighting the looming threat to U.S. households bracing for higher heating costs in the event of a harsh winter.
U.S. natural gas futures were up 1.11 percent at $6.312 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) in early trading on Oct. 6 after jumping around 9 percent a day earlier to settle at $6.312 per mmBtu, their highest level since 2008.
While gas prices in Europe and Asia have more than tripled this year, the United States has largely been shielded from the global crunch because of plentiful supplies. While U.S. natural gas is trading around the $6 per mmBTu mark, it’s at around $30-plus in Europe and Asia.
But experts warn the global natural gas crunch could have ripple effects, with possible impacts on households in the United States.
Natural gas supply shortages have led factories to shut in continental Europe, with reverberations in food production in the United Kingdom.
“It will either be physical shortages, or it will be reflected in price,” he said at the time.
And U.S. natural gas future contracts—known as Henry Hub—have been rallying, with contracts for each of the next five months up over 1 percent in early trading on Oct. 6.
At the time of reporting, November 2021 contracts were up 1.01 percent at $6.376 per mmBTu, December 2021 contracts were up 1.15 percent at $6.506 per mmBTu, and January 2022 contracts were up 1.03 percent at $6.589 per mmBTu.
“Henry Hub prices continue to climb for the winter months, but we should see even bigger increases on the East and West Coasts for New England and California,” said Matt Smith, lead oil analyst for the Americas at commodity analytics firm Kpler.
In New England, gas for January delivery is soaring, trading this week at more than $22 at the region’s Algonquin hub. This would be the highest price paid in a month since January and February of 2014.