Temperatures Over 9 Degrees Above Normal
Very Warm Weather in Midwest, Northeast

Benchmark U.S. natural-gas prices tumbled over the past week to near the lowest levels in seven weeks as unusually warm December weather suppressed heating demand in much of the country, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Henry Hub gas as of December 12 was $3.33 per million British thermal units, down 8 cents, or 2.3%, from a week earlier. In NYMEX futures trading December 13, gas for January delivery fell 3.5 cents to $3.347, down 5.7% from $3.551 at the end of last week and the lowest settlement in three months.

Total U.S. gas demand dropped nearly 14% during the week ended December 12 compared to the previous week, led by a decline of 29% in residential and commercial consumption. Temperatures in the lower 48 U.S. states averaged 49.3 degrees Fahrenheit, over 9 degrees above the 30-year average for the period.

In a separate report earlier this week, the agency boosted its projection for U.S. gas production next year. Dry gas production in 2013 is expected to reach an average of 66.03 billion cubic feet per day, up 1% from a previous forecast and an all-time high for the third year in a row, according to the latest Short-Term Energy Outlook. Production in September hit the highest for any month since 1973.

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