By Josh Owens
- S. natural gas prices are up 4.21% despite bearish headwinds.
- Prices have shed nearly 60% since mid-September.
- Strong international LNG demand is helping support U.S. natural gas prices, for now.
U.S. natural gas prices are up over 4.2% Monday after shedding nearly 60% since mid-September, as market sentiment catches headwinds from an anticipated rise in exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Defying predictions of mild weather that would normally put further downward pressure on U.S. natural gas prices, futures rose on Monday as the market gears up for LNG plants to come back online over the coming weeks following maintenance, Reuters reports.
Coming back online soon will be Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s Cove Point LNG export plan in Maryland after a three-week maintenance shutdown. This will return 0.8 billion cubic feet per day to exports, according to Reuters.
Also slated to go back into action is Freeport LNG’s 2-billion-cubic-feet-per-day Texas-based LNG export facility, which has been offline since early June and is now expected to partially start up in the first two weeks of November, approval pending.
Since the start of October, maintenance and outages have caused natural gas flows to LNG plants on the U.S. Gulf Coast to decline to 11.1 billion cubic feet from 11.5 Bcf in September and 12.9 Bcf in March.
Demand for U.S. LNG from international markets continues to rise, putting upward pressure on U.S. domestic gas prices ahead of the winter heating season. Last week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) said it expected natural gas prices this winter to be higher than the average for recent years due to higher exports.
Looking further ahead at the LNG export boost to natural gas future, in its Q3 2022 earnings report, Kinder Morgan remains very bullish on LNG, with CEO Richard Kinder predicting a more than doubling of U.S. LNG exports from 11 billion cubic feet per day today to 28 Bcf/d by 2030.