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Oh So Handy! Could Fuel Switching Fix Falling Natural Gas Prices?

Natural gas prices for the nearby CME NYMEX futures contract at the Henry Hub in Louisiana have fallen by 38 percent from their high in February of $6.149/MMBtu to yesterday’s close at $3.847/MMBtu (July 24, 2014). Over the same period the price of CME NYMEX Appalachian coal has stayed virtually flat at $60/ton. So far falling gas prices have not increased power burn – the consumption of natural gas by power generators switching from coal. But natural gas prices in the Marcellus at Dominion South Point have fallen by nearly 60 percent since February to $2.46/MMBtu making natural gas a cheaper fuel than coal for power burn in that region. Today we discuss prospects for coal to gas switching this summer.

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