Spot natural gas prices in the United States and Canada soared this week as homes and businesses in Alberta cranked up their heaters to escape an uncommon spring freeze, while consumers in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic dusted off their air conditioners.
AccuWeather forecast high temperatures in Calgary, the biggest city in the Canadian province of Alberta, would remain below freezing for much of this week. That compares with a normal high of around 51 degrees Fahrenheit (10.6 Celsius) in the city at this time of year.
Next-day gas prices for Wednesday at the AECO hub in Alberta rose to $5.68 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), their highest since March 2014 for a second day in a row.
Energy traders noted that Alberta’s cold, which is expected to reach the United States early next week, could reduce gas exports from Canada.
Worries about Canadian supplies caused prices for Tuesday in Chicago, which gets some gas from Alberta, to rise to $6.64 per mmBtu, their highest since the February freeze in 2021.
That price spike came even though high temperatures in Chicago were expected to reach around 71 degrees F (21.7 C) on Tuesday and Wednesday. That is about 13 degrees over the city’s normal for this time of year and should not result in any heating or cooling demand.
In the U.S. Mid-Atlantic, meanwhile, next-day gas for Wednesday at the Dominion South Hub in Pennsylvania rose to $5.98 per mmBtu, which was also its highest since the February freeze in 2021.
But with high temperatures in Philadelphia expected to reach around 81 degrees F (27.2 C) on Wednesday and Thursday, traders noted the Mid-Atlantic price increase came as some consumers turn on their air conditioners for the first time this year.
The normal high in Philadelphia is 64 F (17.8 C) at this time of year.