By: Ryan Dezember
Winter’s approach and a lot of working from home have lifted natural-gas prices to more than double their summer lows.
More expensive gas could sting consumers hunkering down for a winter in home officesand virtual classrooms. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that average daily gas consumption will be 5% more this winter than last due to colder temperatures and people burning more than usual to heat and power their homes.
But the surge is rewarding Appalachian producers who idled drilling rigs and choked back wells this summer to hold gas in the ground until prices improved.
Natural gas for December delivery ended Wednesday at $3.05 a million British thermal units, up 7.7% from a year ago. January futures, which are more heavily wagered upon, ended at $3.18 after losing 8.4% this week amid forecasts for a warm spell in the East. This summer, futures fell to $1.48, the lowest price in a quarter-century.
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