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US gas supply crunch could ease by ’23 – trade group

Tightening US gas supply that has not kept up pace with rising demand has been a driving factor for the Henry Hub futures benchmark, although increased supply is expected to re-balance the US market into 2023, according to an American Gas Association (AGA) market webinar.

US gas supply crunch could ease by ’23 – trade group

Houston, May 23 - Neftegaz.RU. An unseasonably colder spring in the US near the end of the winter heating-season dropped already-low gas storage inventories even lower beyond historical averages, said Richard Meyer, vice president of energy markets, analysis and standards at the AGA, ICIS analysed.

This caused the Henry Hub futures benchmark to rally to record highs at times to levels not seen since 2008, prior to the advent of robust shale production in the lower 48 states.
The Henry Hub futures front-month price closed at $8.10/MMBtu on 19 May, more than 3 times higher in value than 1 year ago, when the Henry Hub price was $2.52/MMBtu.

In May, it was electric power generation that took up the largest share, at 71%, of the demand increase to reflect the hotter-than-normal temperatures and increased cooling demand.

This year, the number of cooling degree days, an indicator of how much demand would be required for warmer weather, reflected temperatures that were 67% warmer than normal compared with the 30-year average, according to Meyer, and this was nearly double in the east and south-central regions.

At the same time of rising gas prices, domestic coal prices in the US have also soared.
He said:
  • Natural gas will remain the most important fuel for generating electricity and serve to balancing power demand
In addition, utilisation rates for US LNG plants, 5 in the US Gulf Coast and 2 on the US East Coast, have remained at high levels due to the elevated spot LNG prices into Europe and Asia since summer of 2021, which is expected to continue given Russia’s supply uncertainty into Europe.

US gas production, which is forecast to reach about 95 billion cubic feet (bcf)/day by the end of 2022, meanwhile has incrementally increased but not enough to match a growing pace in demand.
Meyer said:
  • While supply has grown, it has lagged compared to demand

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