Average wholesale (spot) prices for natural gas increased significantly throughout the United States in 2013 compared to 2012. The average wholesale price for natural gas at Henry Hub in Erath, Louisiana, the key benchmark location for pricing throughout the United States, rose 35% to $3.73 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2013. Increased winter demand pushed inventories down and prices up to above $4.00/MMBtu in March and April, but decreased consumption for electric generation over the summer and positive (but flattening) production growth kept 2013 prices at their lowest level since 2002 with the exception of 2012.
The price increases were relatively uniform, except in the northeastern United States, where cold-weather-driven demand spikes exacerbated the impact of pipeline constraints in Boston and New York City markets. The importance of supply changes for prices is shown at the Transco Leidy Hub in Pennsylvania where prices in 2013 were only 11% higher than in 2012, despite much greater absolute and percentage price increases at nearby hubs serving New York City and Boston. The Leidy Hub prices were most directly affected by continued growth in production from the Marcellus shale.