Natural Gas Supply Challenges and Increasing Prices Suggest an Expensive Winter

Fox Business contributor and senior energy analyst Phil Flynn recently reported natural gas futures are reaching a seven-year high and supply is dwindling, which means Americans could see the highest heating bills they’ve seen in years this winter. Fox Business explains the supply challenges come as a result of “a slow rebound in production from the hurricane, globally tight supplies, and bad energy policy,” noting:

Hurricane Ida not only hit 90% of natural gas output but also did major damage to key onshore staging areas and because of that, it is taking much longer to restore natural gas production than ever. Over 78% of the Gulf of Mexico’s Natural gas production remains offline and there is no clear timeline as to when they can get things back to normal.  The pace of recovery, in just the natural gas side of the equation, is one of the slowest recoveries in history, worse than Hurricane Katrina back in 2005. 

Natural gas has long been recognized as an affordable and abundant energy source key to also lowering carbon emissions, especially from the power generation sector. It also is responsible for heating millions of homes across the country, as Fox Business notes:

Natural gas is one of the preferred sources of energy in this country not only for electricity and factories but mainly as a heating source for people’s homes. Over 50% of U.S. homes are heated by natural gas and even those that use electric heat pay for natural gas price increases through the backdoor as 38% of total U.S. natural gas consumption goes into providing electricity. 

While the U.S. in recent years has been less reliant on the Gulf of Mexico for gas production due to fracking and shale gas revolution in states like Texas and Pennsylvania, the Biden administration’s agenda could create new hurdles:

…the anti-drilling campaign by the Biden administration and the desire to push more natural gas production offshore created a situation where U.S. production is stagnant as opposed to growing. Natural gas production fell to 91.7 billion cubic feet in the first half of this year.  As a result, natural gas future prices have risen 94% since President Biden was inaugurated. That is the biggest surge in natural gas prices going back to the year 2000.

Flynn notes that we are now increasing our reliance on the Gulf for gas once again, leaving us more economically vulnerable. Fracking, on the other hand, occurs on land is typically much less impact by weather such as hurricanes.

Now more than ever, lawmakers and regulators must prioritize commonsense policy that strengthens the American economy through energy and infrastructure development.

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