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Short-Term Energy Outlook

Release Date: January 15, 2019  |  Next Release Date: February 12, 2019  |  Full Report    |   Text Only   |   All Tables   |   All Figures

Natural Gas


The front-month natural gas futures contract for delivery at the Henry Hub settled at $2.97/million British thermal units (MMBtu) on January 10, a decrease of $1.37/MMBtu from December 3 (Figure 4). Colder-than-normal weather and below-average inventory levels resulted in higher prices and volatility in November and through early December. However, milder temperatures in the second half of December contributed to substantial decreases in prices, returning them to September levels. For the three weeks ending January 3, U.S. heating degree days were 20% less than normal. The moderate weather also helped to slow the rate of inventory withdrawals. Natural gas inventory withdrawals were 256 billion cubic feet (Bcf) less than the previous five-year average for the three weeks ending January 4, helping to narrow the deficit from the five-year average to 464 Bcf for the week ending January 4 from 725 Bcf for the week ending November 30.

Figure 4: Natural gas gront-month futures prices and actual minus historical average HDD and CDD

U.S. Natural Gas Summary
Prices (dollars per thousand cubic feet)
Henry Hub Spot
Residential Sector 10.8610.6110.8411.00
Commercial Sector 7.867.888.027.97
Industrial Sector
Supply (billion cubic feet per day)
Marketed Production 79.9989.6597.2899.68
Dry Gas Production 74.7783.3190.1992.22
Pipeline Imports 8.127.757.016.80
LNG Imports
Consumption (billion cubic feet per day)
Residential Sector 12.0913.4113.3913.09
Commercial Sector 8.679.309.298.99
Industrial Sector 21.7822.7323.1823.39
Electric Power Sector 25.3929.0429.0730.04
Total Consumption 74.3281.5882.6583.55
Primary Assumptions (percent change from previous year)
Heating Degree Days -1.311.0-1.0-0.6
Cooling Degree Days -8.411.0-13.20.4
Commercial Employment
Natural-gas-weighted Industrial Production