Natural Gas FAQ's
Impacting natural gas prices are mild weather, a
decrease in demand for electricity, and an abundance of supply. Also significantly
contributing to historically low prices is how and where natural gas is extracted.
Horizontal drilling is an innovative technique for
capturing natural gas in shale formations, including the Barnett Shale in
An increasing number of coal-burning power plants are
switching to natural gas for generating electricity. Natural gas burns cleaner than
coal, and gas-burning power plants are cheaper than coal-burning plants to
build and to operate. Recent state and federal legislation forces coal-fired power
plants to decrease carbon dioxide emissions. In the last decade, use of natural gas to generate
electricity increased 50 percent. The U.S. Energy Information Agency reports
that between 2009 and 2010 natural gas use for power generation increased by
In states with deregulated natural gas markets, now is a good time to consider pricing provided by many competitive suppliers. If you’re currently in a supply contract that ends a year or more from now, you can still consider locking in today’s prices for future supply needs in a supplier contract that begins when your current contract ends. A supply contract with terms and conditions that best take advantage of historically low natural gas prices can lock in a price for service as far out as 2016. States with deregulated natural gas markets are AR, DC, FL, GA, IN, KY, MA, MD, MI, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, OK, PA, SC, TX, VA, WV, and WI.
Since the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission deregulated natural gas in the 1980s, utilities are obligated to support customers who opt to purchase natural gas from third party suppliers. The primary function of the utility is to re-deliver gas from the supplier to the customer’s facility.
Btu - One British thermal unit (Btu) is the heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.
Therm - One therm equals 100,000 Btu.
Mcf - Mcf is the volume of one thousand cubic feet of natural gas and equals 1.031 million Btu on average.
The utility will step in and deliver the natural gas necessary to keep the customer in operation. Such occurrences rarely, if even, happen.
Today, demand for natural gas is increasing worldwide, not
just in the
The pricing options consist of:
- buying a fixed price which is an ‘all-in bundled price’ to be delivered to the utility,
- buying the transportation (or basis) only and locking in the NYMEX commodity by placing triggers, etc.
- buying portions of various monthly load requirements at various levels, providing the monthly total is large enough.