WASHINGTON — The Henry Hub natural gas spot price is expected to average approximately 65 cents higher per million British thermal unit (MMBtu) this year, while natural gas working inventories ended February at a level below the same time one year ago, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
EIA expects the spot price to be $3.41 per MMBtu in 2013 and $3.63 per MMBtu in 2014. It averaged $2.75 per MMBtu in 2012.
In other energy news, the weekly U.S. average regular gasoline retail price fell in early March for the first time since mid-December. The March 11 average was $3.71 per gallon, down 7 cents per gallon from Feb. 25.
EIA expects that lower crude oil prices will result in monthly average regular gasoline prices staying near the February average of $3.67 per gallon over the next few months, with the annual average retail price declining from $3.63 per gallon in 2012 to $3.55 per gallon in 2013 and $3.38 per gallon in 2014.
U.S. crude oil production exceeded an average level of 7 million barrels per day in November and December, the highest volume in more than 20 years.
EIA warns that energy price forecasts are highly uncertain and that the current values of futures and options contracts suggest prices could differ significantly from its forecast.