Despite expectations of a colder 2022 winter temperatures have remained mild, sending natural gas future prices for December down by an average 97 cents per MMBtu (million British thermal units). Over the whole of the winter from December to March forward prices are down an average of 91 cents per MMBtu, according to industry portal Natural Gas Intelligence.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations (NOAA) 2021-2022 U.S. Winter Outlook, released in October, most of the southern and eastern states will enjoy above normal temperatures while the northwest will be below normal due to La Nina climate conditions.
In October Platts Transco Zone 6 non-New York forward natural gas prices average $5.25 MMBtu, 127% then the previous year. Piped natural gas prices were 28.1% higher in October than the previous year contributing to 30% inflation in energy prices over the past year, according to the October CPI index, published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. .
In 2021, also a la Nina year, record low temperatures in February led to power cuts in Texas raising natural gas prices 75 times above normal levels in the spot market, according to Bloomberg NEF analysts Jade Patterson and Nakul Nair.