Natural gas prices across North America soared to their highest in years on Thursday as freezing wells cut output and homes and businesses crank up their heaters to escape the arctic blast moving from Canada to the eastern half of the United States.

U.S. and Canadian natural gas prices soar during Arctic blast

Source: Reuters

“The weather pattern is beginning to sound like a broken record for many residents of the eastern half of the U.S. as snowy and cold weather shows no signs of letting up anytime soon,” meteorologists at AccuWeather said.

High temperatures in Chicago were expected to remain below freezing (32 Fahrenheit or zero Celsius) from Feb. 5-21 with the coldest weather set to come this weekend when overnight lows plunge to -6 F on Sunday, AccuWeather said. The normal high in the city at this time of year is 34 F.

That cold air will move to the East Coast over the next day or two where it could drop up to six inches (15.2 centimeters) of snow on parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland.

Next-day gas for Thursday rose to its highest since January 2018 at the Waha hub in the Permian basin in Texas where prices had turned negative as recently as October.

Data provider Refinitiv said output in the Lower 48 U.S. states was on track to drop to a preliminary 87.2 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) on Thursday from 88.9 bcfd on Wednesday, the lowest since late October.

Energy traders said wellhead freeze-offs in many regions were likely the cause of that decline, including losses of around 0.9 bcfd along the Gulf Coast, 1.0 bcfd in the Midcontinent and 0.1 bcfd in the Rockies.

One billion cubic feet is enough gas to supply about five million U.S. homes for a day.

Spot prices in other regions, meanwhile, soared to their highest since March 2019, including the AECO hub in Alberta, Dominion South in southwest Pennsylvania, Chicago and the U.S. Henry Hub benchmark in Louisiana.


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