Pennsylvania

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Natural gas supplies expected to meet demand this winter

Natural gas home heating prices are expected to rise 13 percent this winter, which is about $80.

Credit stevendepolo flickr

Natural gas home heating prices are expected to rise 13 percent this winter, which is about $80 per household.

Increases in domestic natural gas production combined with expanding infrastructure will help meet consumption needs this winter, according to a report released today by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

The report notes the Northeast is now the top gas producing region in the country, due to a sharp increase in production from the Marcellus shale.

Although weather is the “key wildcard” according to the report, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) show a chance for a normal winter in the Eastern U.S. and warmer temperatures for the West.

More from Greenwire:

The surge of cheap gas and sufficient storage is expected to meet demand and keep both gas and electricity prices low during a winter of above-normal temperatures, according to predictions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that FERC staff cited.

“I noticed my neighbor’s snowboard was for sale this morning. I guess I shouldn’t make any decisions on that yet,” FERC Commissioner John Norris said.

Gas prices in many areas are rising and are up to 50 percent higher than last year, settling at prices that were last seen in 2011. New England is currently paying some of the highest prices because of constraints. But prices are still “well below historic highs,” FERC staff wrote, noting that the mid-Atlantic region is flush with cheap gas from the Marcellus Shale play.

Pennsylvania’s natural gas production hit a record-breaking 1.4 trillion cubic feet during the first half of this year. If production continues at that pace, the state is on track to produce over 10 percent of what the entire country uses in a year.

Natural gas prices rebounded this year after hitting historic lows. FERC breaks down how much the prices have changed since last year:

Natural gas prices Oct 1, 2013

The federal Energy Information Administration recently forecast higher gas heating costs this winter. They expect homeowners to pay about 13 percent more this year to heat with natural gas, which is about $80.

Comments

  • Iris Marie Bloom

    When will a fossil fuel which requires extreme energy extraction — fracking, aka shale gas development — which poisons air as well as water, while destroying climate, begin to be referred to as “expensive” no matter what its price in dollars and cents may be?

    Shale gas development kills animals and sometimes people; sickens and displaces people; and the PA grassroots movement is desperately trying to get clean water to impacted people right now. Yet WHYY persists in writing breathless PR pieces for the industry like this one, as if “demand” is some innocent, immutable thing separate from public policy and political will — with no mention of the raging global controversy (200 anti-fracking demonstrations during this Global Frackdown weekend).

    When will we learn to think, speak and write “as if the earth really mattered”?

    Climate is not a special interest nor a private interest, so climate damage from shale gas production should be referred to every time shale gas is reported on, instead of pieces that lull the public into thinking this is a legitimate, seemingly inevitable and unstoppable process. High-volume horizontal slickwater fracking is unstoppable in exactly the sense that slavery was unstoppable: not.

    But it sure does a huge amount of damage in the meantime.

    As soon as gray, nauseating water comes out of your tap post-drilling, your life is forever changed. But despite hundreds of PA families being impacted by contaminated water due to gas drilling, their lives are no longer referred to as if they matter.

    It is the job of reporters to provide context, not just “happy facts” devoid of context, even if the ANGA (American Natural Gas Association) advertisers at NPR want to frame all natgas stories as “happy facts for the shortsighted.”

    • QueensGambit

      Freeze or pollute, that is the question.

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