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‹ Analysis & Projections

Short-Term Energy Outlook

Release Date: April 6, 2021  |  Forecast Completed: April 1, 2021  |  Next Release Date: May 11, 2021  |  Full Report    |   Text Only   |   All Tables   |   All Figures

Natural Gas

Prices: The front-month natural gas futures contract for delivery at the Henry Hub settled at $2.64 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) on April 1, 2021, which was down 14 cents/MMBtu from March 1, 2021 (Figure 8).

Figure 8: U.S. gas front-month futures prices and storage

Natural gas futures prices averaged $2.62/MMBtu in March, a decrease of 29 cents/MMBtu from the February average, which was the highest monthly average since January 2019. EIA estimates March natural gas withdrawals were 62.3 Bcf, 65% less than the five-year (2016–20) average for March. The low March withdrawals partly reflected a decrease in natural gas demand. We estimate that natural gas consumption in March decreased to 84.4 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), down 24.6 Bcf/d (23%) from February’s record levels and the lowest consumption for March since 2017. We expect prices will rise from March levels and the Henry Hub spot price will average $2.86/MMBtu for the final three quarters of 2021. We forecast higher prices will result from relatively low, albeit rising, U.S. natural gas production compared with previous years amid increases in U.S. natural gas exports.

U.S. Natural Gas Summary
  2019202020212022
Prices (dollars per thousand cubic feet)
Henry Hub Spot 2.672.113.153.23
Residential Sector 10.4610.8311.0411.00
Commercial Sector 7.597.487.987.89
Industrial Sector 3.903.294.234.29
Supply (billion cubic feet per day)
Marketed Production 100.0498.8498.90101.02
Dry Gas Production 93.0691.3691.4193.29
Pipeline Imports 7.376.847.086.69
LNG Imports 0.140.130.200.22
Consumption (billion cubic feet per day)
Residential Sector 13.7412.7013.2313.01
Commercial Sector 9.628.609.189.12
Industrial Sector 23.0722.5623.9124.19
Electric Power Sector 30.9331.7428.8327.72
Total Consumption 85.1583.2682.9382.07
Primary Assumptions (percent change from previous year)
Heating Degree Days 0.6-9.45.50.5
Cooling Degree Days -5.21.6-5.6-1.0
Commercial Employment 1.4-6.63.24.0
Natural-gas-weighted Industrial Production -0.4-5.86.63.5