Monday, April 15, 2013

Big Price Volatility Persists In Shale Gas Era: Gas Price Rises 125%

At the risk of considerable understatement, let's say that price stability is not one of the strengths of natural gas or the fruits of the shale gas revolution.  Indeed, the shale gas revolution so far has not banished substantial price volatility.

Just consider the huge gas price moves from 2011 to 2012 and now from 2012 to 2013.  In 2011 the spot price of gas was above $4 for a thousand cubic feet and then fell to $1.80 by April 2012 or a decline of about 55%.

The plunge of 2011 to 2012 has now been followed by the skyrocketing spot price over the last year. This past Friday, April 12th, 2013, the Henry Hub spot price was $4.21, compared to $1.87 on April 12, 2012.  In just one year, the spot price has increased 125%!

Hedging the price volatility of natural gas is one of the strengths of wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal, all of which have no price volatility and no fuel cost.  In turn, natural gas power plants can firm wind, solar, and hydro.  As such combining renewable energy and natural gas produces economic and operational advantages for both and for consumers.

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