By Eileen Houlihan
NEW YORK, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Cold weather in the U.S. Northeast pushed regional New York natural gas prices to their highest level in five years on Tuesday.
Regional New York cash gas prices for Wednesday delivery averaged just over $23 per million British thermal units, the highest average price for New York tracked by Reuters since a peak at $38 in early January 2008.
Gas for Wednesday delivery on the Transco pipeline at the New York citygate traded as high as $29, according to ICE data, and as low as $9.75 early in the day, according to traders.
Other New York prices traded in the $9 to $21 range, while other Northeast prices traded at $17 to $21.
Those prices compare with a two-month high average of $3.63 at the nation’s benchmark supply point, Henry Hub in Louisiana.
“The weather continues to dominate the short-term direction of natural gas prices. The current cold conditions are expected to last at least through the end of this week, especially in the high-demand Northeast area, obviously a bullish scenario for the very short term,” said Energy Management Institute’s Dominick Chirichella.
The Transco pipeline, owned by Williams Cos, is a 10,000-mile system with the capacity to carry 9.6 billion cubic feet of supply per day from South Texas to New York City. It is a major provider of natural gas to the U.S. Northeast and Southeast.
In the latest informational posting on Transco, Williams said on Friday that temperatures over much of its market area would be below normal for most of this week.
Shippers on the Transco system were encouraged to balance their supply and demand requirements on a daily basis.
The Weather Channel’s weather.com said temperatures in New York would reach a high of only 23 degrees Fahrenheit on Tuesday, dipping to the low-teens overnight, with a similar forecast for much of the week.