The Henry Hub natural gas spot price averaged $2.99/MMBtu in January, a decline of $0.49/MMBtu from December, and the first monthly average price under $3/MMBtu since September 2012.
The U.S. EIA said in a report it expects monthly average spot prices to remain less than $3/MMBtu through the winter, and less than $4/MMBtu through the remainder of the forecast. The projected Henry Hub natural gas price averages $3.05/MMBtu in 2015 and $3.47/MMBtu in 2016.
Natural gas futures contracts for May 2015 delivery, traded during the five-day period ending February 5, averaged $2.71/MMBtu. Current options and futures prices imply that market participants place the lower and upper bounds for the 95% confidence interval for May 2015 contracts at $1.79/MMBtu and $4.11/MMBtu, respectively.
At this time last year, the natural gas futures contract for May 2014 delivery averaged $4.48/MMBtu and the corresponding lower and upper limits of the 95% confidence interval were $3.28/MMBtu and $6.13/MMBtu, according to EIA.
Liquefied natural gas imports have fallen over the past five years because higher prices in Europe and Asia are more attractive to LNG exporters than the relatively low prices in the United States.
Forecast LNG gross imports average 0.2 Bcf/d in both 2015 and 2016. EIA projects that LNG gross exports will increase from an average of 0.04 Bcf/d in 2014 to almost 0.8 Bcf/d in 2016.