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Natural Gas Spot Price Lower Thanks to Record-High Working Inventories

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Photo: ©iStockphoto/diane555

Staff Writer |

WASHINGTON — With natural gas working inventories remaining at record highs, the average 2012 Henry Hub spot price forecast stands at nearly 50 cents per MMBtu below the 2011 average price, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Short-Term Energy Outlook report released Tuesday.

EIA’s average 2012 Henry Hub natural gas price forecast is $3.53 per MMBtu. The agency expects that spot prices will average $4.14 per MMBtu in 2013.

Inventories at the end of 2011 were an estimated 3.5 trillion cubic feet, about 12% above the same time the previous year.

Average household heating oil expenditures are expected to increase 4% this winter heating season (Oct. 1 to March 31) compared with last winter. In contrast, natural gas and propane expenditures are projected to decline by 7% and 1%, respectively, and electricity expenditures are 2% lower than last winter’s levels.

EIA expects regular-grade gasoline retail prices to average $3.48 per gallon this year, 4 cents per gallon lower than 2011, and $3.55 per gallon in 2013.

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