NEW YORK: US natural gas futures fell about 4% on Friday from the previous session’s 13-year high on forecasts for a rise in output, milder weather and a drop in demand in the next two weeks. US front-month gas futures for June delivery fell 37.2 cents, or 4.2%, to $8.411 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) at 10:31 a.m. EDT (1431 GMT). On Thursday, the contract closed at its highest since August 2008 for a third day in a row.
Despite Friday’s decline, the contract was still up about 16% for the week. Earlier in the week, US gas futures followed oil prices higher after the EU proposed a phased embargo on Russian oil in response to Moscow’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.
Analysts said the proposed oil embargo increased the possibility the EU would seek to ban Russian gas in the future. Forecasts for extreme heat this weekend in Texas and other Gulf Coast states should boost the amount of gas power generators burn to keep air conditioners humming, pushing next-day gas prices at the Henry Hub benchmark in Louisiana to their highest since the February freeze of 2021.
One of the more surprising things about the recent US gas price run-up was that while US futures soared about 46% over the past month, European gas lost about 5% during that time as Russia continued sending supplies via pipeline and liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessels keep delivering cargoes.
US gas futures have already gained about 125% so far this year as higher global prices kept demand for US LNG exports near record highs since Russia’s invasion. Gas was trading around $32 per mmBtu in Europe and $24 in Asia.