U.S. natural gas futures breached $10 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) for the first time in about 14 years on Tuesday, continuing to take cues from a surge in European prices as supply fears persist.
Front-month gas futures were up 10.5 cents, or 1.1%, to $9.785 by 8:55 a.m. EDT (1255 GMT), after touching $10.01 per mmBtu for the first time since 2008 earlier in the session.
“With the concerns about what’s happening with Europe, prices have been going through the roof,” and the upcoming maintenance on the Russia-to-Germany Nord Stream 1 pipeline is making the market very bullish, said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group.
The $10 per mmBtu level might be a near-term top, with some profit-taking seen at that level today, Flynn said.
Global gas prices continued to be strong, with contracts at $77 per mmBtu in Europe and $56 in Asia, potentially boosting demand for relatively cheaper U.S. exports.
Adding pressure to an already volatile market, Russian state energy giant Gazprom said on Friday the country will halt natural gas supplies to Europe for three days at the end of the month via its main pipeline into the region.
The average amount of gas flowing to U.S. LNG export plants held at 10.9 bcfd so far in August, the same as July. That compares with a monthly record of 12.9 bcfd in March. The seven big U.S. export plants can turn about 13.8 bcfd of gas into LNG.