The surprise price plunge in January 2017 was big news. So was the rebound.
Gasoline and natural gas prices have, however, steadily declined since 2017’s start, and industry professionals and investors are studying the phenomenon as a sign of stability and good news for Americans and businesses.
“Natural gas is an essential resource for America, but we’ve under-invested in it to the point where we’re leaving ourselves gas in the tank,” said Cynthia Hatcher, vice president of investor relations at Consol Energy, one of the largest independent natural gas producers in the United States. “We’re in the same spot that we were at ten years ago. I’m really excited to see prices go down as much as they have. It gives me a lot of optimism that we can start investing in the future of gas.”
Beginning around Thanksgiving of 2017, falling gasoline prices across much of the country immediately created a rebound in natural gas prices. The price of oil, of course, soared along with it.
Tight oil supply drove up crude prices and sparked fears that the oil cartel OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, would flood the market to drive out U.S. and other competitors, as it did in the 1980s. Prices fell to around $30, and gas prices followed.
Natural gas is an efficient way to heat America’s homes, and is rarely far from storage facilities. “It’s the same supply-demand picture in gas that it was in oil,” said Jeremy Wood, lead energy analyst for Axiom International Resources.
Since then, both oil and gas prices have fallen lower, even as demand surges. The EIA has said this year’s prices should hold steady for the next few months.