WASHINGTON — Natural gas working inventories ended November at a record high for that date, about 1% above last year, and the Henry Hub spot price for natural gas averages $4.02 per MMBtu for the year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Short-Term Energy Outlook report released Dec. 6.
The EIA expects that Henry Hub spot prices will continue to decline in 2012, averaging $3.70 per MMBtu, 43 cents per MMBtu lower than the previous month’s Outlook.
The warm start to the heating season has lowered the forecast of average household heating expenditures for heating fuels by about 3% from last month’s Outlook. Average household heating oil and propane expenditures are now expected to increase by 8% and 5%, respectively, this winter (Oct. 1 to March 31) compared to last winter.
Monthly average regular-grade gasoline retail prices averaged $3.38 per gallon in November, 52 cents per gallon below their 2011 peak monthly average in May. EIA expects that pump prices will remain at or below current levels until early spring 2012, when prices begin their normal seasonal rise. Prices are projected to average $3.45 per gallon in 2012.