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Western US hubs lead spot natural gas losses in May

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Western US hubs lead spot natural gas losses in May

Spot natural gas indexes in the U.S. were lower than year-ago figures in May, with pricing in the West leading the decline.

Day-ahead gas prices in the West notched a 12.1% loss year over year in May, making it the lowest valued across regions at an average price at $1.597/MMBtu. A similar offering on the Gulf Coast, in the Midcontinent and Northeast logged single-digit percentage losses that brought indexes to the low $2s per MMBtu.

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Year-over-year comparison of degree-day data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reflects lingering heating demand alongside lackluster cooling demand. On a nationwide basis, gas customer-weighted home heating degree days, or HDDs, were 64.8% higher than 2018 in May, while population-weighted cooling degree days, or CDDs, were 13.5% lower over the same period. For the Pacific region, HDDs were up 48.9% but CDDs were down 71.4%.

Shale production remained a bearish influence as the U.S. Energy Information Administration's latest "Drilling Productivity Report" released May 13 sees shale gas output expanding by 0.94 Bcf/d from May to June to reach 80.66 Bcf/d.

The larger year-over-year percentage declines in spot gas pricing occurred at hubs in the West, though trading locations in the region generally had a mixed showing. The Waha Hub notched a 101.6% year-over-year drop that took spot gas index to negative 2.9 cents/MMBtu, while El Paso Permian saw day-ahead gas price fall 79.8% to 34.4 cents/MMBtu.

AECO Storage Hub spot gas notched the largest percentage gain of 65.9% at an index at $1.298/MMBtu. PG&E Gate had the highest valued day-ahead gas offering at $3.289/MMBtu, following a 14.3% gain on the year.

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Market prices and included industry data are current as of the time of publication and are subject to change. For more detailed market data, including power and natural gas index prices, as well as forwards and futures, visit our Commodities pages.