Although the term was relatively unknown until January of 2014, “Polar Vortex” is now a household name throughout the United States. While we were avoiding the outdoors and giving thanks for our warm homes and offices, we may not have taken into consideration just what exactly was playing such an important role in helping us withstand the Polar Vortex. Perhaps unsurprisingly to some, the biggest contributor to keeping us warm enough to brave the bitter cold from the Vortex was our country’s rich natural gas supplies, thanks to fracking.
In early January, nationwide demand for gas reached a record 125 billion cubic feet in just one day. To put this into perspective, a normal early January draw on natural gas inventories reached about 170 billion cubic feet per week. The week of the Polar Vortex, however, natural gas drawdown came close to 310 billion cubic feet, the most ever reported in history.
The record demand for natural gas stretched thin throughout areas of New York, drastically increasing spot prices from a mere $4.25 per mmBTU to a whopping $100 per mmBTU. The price spike was felt as far south as Texas, where spot prices jumped to $40.20 per mmBTU, nearly beating their record set a decade ago. By the time the Polar Vortex had passed, it was abundantly clear that every possible natural gas molecule was needed to brave the cold.
Because they are required by regulators to maintain a supply reserve, natural gas utilities serving homeowners and small businesses get first dibs on gas supplies in times of great need, such as the Polar Vortex. Although the United States has seen colder weather, it has never seen a greater demand for natural gas. We may have come out on top this time, but many energy experts have begun to question what will happen if and when record supply are unable to reach the regions of record demand.
If we can take anything away from the Polar Vortex, it is the knowledge and understanding that the United States, specifically the Northeast, needs more natural gas pipelines. It is in keeping up with trends and nationwide events like these that allows FootBridge Energy to provide the most up-to-date and strategic job market projections to its valued clients and candidates. To learn more about your next possible move in the energy sector, contact FootBridge Energy today!