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.
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:
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.