Natural gas, a critical source of natural gas for power plants, has fallen by about $1.70 a million British thermal units (Btu) to $1,600 per MMBtu.
That is a 10 per cent reduction from a month ago.
In the first quarter, the price of natural to natural gas fell $9.50 per Mbtu, which was the biggest one-day drop in the industry since March.
The price is down about $3.20 a Mbt.
It is also down about 50 per cent since February.
The average price of an MMBtU of natural, a gas with less than 10 per in 100,000 cubic metres, fell by about 20 per cent to $3,500.
Natural gas is the most expensive natural gas on the planet and, as we have seen in recent weeks, its price is falling in a matter of months.
“It is going to have a big impact on the price in the coming weeks and months,” said Andrew Wood of the Energy Futures Group, an independent energy research firm.
“I think the question is, how much of the impact will come from the natural gas price being a bit higher than we anticipated?”
Natural gas prices are expected to fall in 2018, 2019 and 2020 as oil prices remain low and the Federal Reserve continues to support demand and the oil price stabilizes.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is also expected to review its regulations for natural gas in the next few months, and it may move to lower the natural-gas price, Wood said.
“If we do move to the lower end of the range, then we could see natural gas prices stabilizing at around $1 a Mbt, which would be the lowest in two years.”
In addition to natural-solar power and natural gas power, Wood expects that natural gas is going through a price spike next year because of the economic downturn.
“We could see a natural gas surge of around $20 a barrel next year, but if the downturn continues to hit, that could be a $100 a barrel surge,” Wood said, adding that the boom in natural gas could be “quite a bit worse.”
Natural gas generation peaked in December 2019, and the last time natural gas was used to generate electricity was on July 1, 2021, and is expected to be used again next year.
“In a way, the natural increase in natural-based generation is kind of a wake-up call for the renewables industry and the energy industry,” Wood explained.
“This is a signal that renewables are starting to become more viable, and I think that’s going to be very helpful for the energy sector.”
Natural-gas generation is still the dominant source of electricity generation, accounting for over 40 per cent of all electricity generation.
The oil and gas sector was down more than 30 per cent from the end of 2015, when the price fell $1 to $30 a barrel.
That decline has been partly driven by the lower price of oil, and partly by the economic recession.
Natural-energy sources are now about twice as important to the oil industry as they were in the late 1970s, when oil was still the cheapest source of energy.
“What is interesting is that the decline in oil prices over the last year has been very gradual and we’ve seen a gradual increase in renewables, which is also good news,” said Wood.
“But it is not all good news, and there is still a lot of uncertainty over the direction of the industry.”
Natural gas is more expensive than other fuels because it takes longer to break down and transport it, which makes it more expensive to refine.
However, the energy security of natural-energy power plants is good and is the reason the industry is expanding, Wood explained, and this is what the Federal Energy Regulator (FERC) will look at next year and in 2019.
“There is no reason why the natural energy sector should not be a strong source of power for the country for many years to come,” he said.