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From the Energy Information Administration:
Average wholesale (spot) prices for natural gas fell significantly throughout the United States in 2012 compared to 2011 (see red line in chart). The average wholesale price for natural gas at Henry Hub in Erath, Louisiana, a key benchmark location for pricing throughout the United States, fell from an average $4.02 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2011 to $2.77 per MMBtu in 2012. This was the lowest average annual price at Henry Hub since 1999.
Note: Adjusted for inflation, the 2012 spot price is the lowest average annual price in at least 16 years, going back to 1996 or earlier (see blue line in chart). The EIA’s annual wholesale price series starts in 1997, and earlier data aren’t available.
A mild 2011-12 winter, sustained high natural gas inventories, and rising natural gas production in the Marcellus and Eagle Ford basins contributed to lower average spot natural gas prices at Henry Hub. Average spot natural gas prices at Henry Hub fell despite rising natural gas use for power generation, lower overall natural gas net imports from Canada by pipeline, reduced liquefied natural gas imports, higher natural gas exports to Mexico, and temporary production shut-ins related to Hurricane Isaac. Total natural gas production was higher in 2012 than in 2011; however, in contrast to 2011, when production grew steadily over the course of the year, 2012 saw production generally remain flat, close to the level reached towards the end of 2011.
MP: Thanks largely to the breakthrough technologies of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, which have accessed oceans of natural gas in areas like the Marcellus region, natural gas prices continue to fall. In just the last four years, wholesale natural gas prices have fallen by more than 70%, from $9.44 per MMBtu in 2008 to $2.77 last year. In addition to creating thousands of jobs in the oil and gas industry, the shale revolution has delivered billions of dollars in savings for America’s residential, commercial and industrial users of natural gas. Think of the 31% drop in natural gas prices last year as another powerful and well-timed, energy-based economic stimulus to the US economy, as a direct result of the shale revolution that started in 2008.
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