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 unusual spring freeze, while consumers in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic turned on their air conditioning.
AccuWeather forecast temperatures in Calgary, would remain below freezing for much of this week. That compares with a normal high of 52 degrees Fahrenheit (11.1 Celsius) in the city at this time of year.
Next-day gas prices for Thursday at the AECO hub in Alberta rose to $6.06 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), their highest since March 2014 for a third straight day.
Energy traders noted that Alberta’s cold spell, which is expected to reach the United States early next week, could cause Canadian energy companies to export less gas to the United States.
Worries about Canadian supplies and high prices north of the border caused gas in Chicago, which gets some fuel from Alberta, to rise to $6.71 per mmBtu for Thursday, its highest since the February freeze of 2021.
That price spike came as temperatures in Chicago drop from the low 70s Fahrenheit earlier in the week to around 50 F on Thursday. The normal high in the Windy City is 59 F at this time of year, according to AccuWeather.
In the U.S. Mid-Atlantic, meanwhile, next-day gas for Thursday at the Dominion South Hub in Pennsylvania rose to $6.08 per mmBtu, its highest since the February freeze in 2021 for a second day.
Temperatures in Philadelphia were expected to reach 82 F on Thursday, almost 20 degrees above normal for this time of year.
Traders noted highs in the Mid-Atlantic would prompt some consumers to dust off their air conditioning systems.