After years of unusually inexpensive levels, the price of natural gas in the United States has more than doubled since this time last year. In Europe and Asia, wholesale prices are more than five times what they were a year ago.
The surging costs have coincided with a robust recovery from the pandemic recession, with more homes and businesses burning all forms of fuel. That intensified demand is poised to contribute to higher heating costs in many areas of the world.
Having enjoyed a prolonged period of low prices, consumers of natural gas are facing the burden of far more expensive fuel — and the prospect of much higher heating bills this winter.
“Consumers got used to very low prices last year, because with the pandemic everything was shut down,” said Mark Wolfe, executive director of the National Energy Assistance Directors Association. “Now, everything’s coming back online, the industry is returning and natural gas is being used again in very large quantities. And that’s pushing up the price.”
In Europe and Asia, some companies that rely on natural gas have been forced out of business because of the higher prices. Four small British energy companies failed in recent weeks. Fertilizer producers, which use natural gas as a feedstock, are struggling. So are heavy industries that require significant heat, such as aluminum or cement producers.
Power companies in Europe and Asia are engaged in bidding wars over shiploads of liquid natural gas, thereby driving up the cost. Prices are also spiking in the U.S., which converts some of its natural gas into liquid and ships it to Europe and Asia. Those higher costs are showing up in gas bills for consumers around the globe. Analysts expect those prices to rise further through winter when customers are most reliant on the fuel.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
CHINA CLEARS BOEING 737 MAX TO FLY AGAIN
China’s aviation regulator cleared the Boeing 737 Max on Thursday to return to flying with technical upgrades more than two years after the plane was grounded worldwide following two fatal crashes.
SHOULD YOU BANK WITH YOUR BROKERAGE?
If you’ve invested with a brokerage firm in recent years, you may have noticed that your brokerage offers a product called a cash management account.
SHOPPERS ARE BACK IN STORE, ONLINE, BUT VIRUS IMPACT LINGERS
Americans are spending freely and going back to store shopping, knocking out some of the momentum in online sales from last year when Americans were making many of their purchases exclusively via the internet.
TESLA OFFICIALLY MOVES HEADQUARTERS FROM CALIFORNIA TO TEXAS
Tesla says it has officially moved its corporate headquarters from Silicon Valley to a large factory under construction outside of Austin, Texas.
UK COMPETITION WATCHDOG ORDERS FACEBOOK TO SELL OFF GIPHY
The United Kingdom’s antitrust watchdog has blocked Facebook’s acquisition of Giphy and ordered the social network to sell off the GIF-sharing platform, saying the deal hurts social media users and advertisers by stifling competition for animated images.
SCIENCE REPORT: US SHOULD MAKE LESS PLASTIC TO SAVE OCEANS
America needs to rethink and reduce the way it generates plastics because so much of the material is littering the oceans and other waters, the National Academy of Sciences says in a new report.
MERCEDES, STELLANTIS TO WORK WITH US FIRM ON NEW BATTERIES
Automakers Mercedes-Benz and Stellantis announced agreements with U.S. company Factorial Energy this week to help develop solid-state battery technology that they hope could make electric cars more attractive to a mass market.
FROM SQUARE TO BLOCK: ANOTHER TECH COMPANY CHANGES ITS NAME
There’s a new Silicon Valley corporate name change on the block.
GM CITES IMPROVED CHIP SUPPLY IN RAISING FINANCIAL GUIDANCE
Citing an improved supply of automotive computer chips, General Motors raised its financial guidance on Wednesday and said it expects to return to a normal production rate by the end of next year.
DATA HACKED FOR 400,000 PLANNED PARENTHOOD LA PATIENTS
The Los Angeles branch of Planned Parenthood was hit by a data breach involving about 400,000 patients, but there is no indication that the information was used “for fraudulent purposes,” the group said.
A Crash Course in Omicronomics
Sussing out the impact of the new coronavirus variant on growth and inflation
TURNING SALT INTO GOLD
In the Austrian Alps, generations of miners toiled to extract the ancient world’s most valuable resource
CLOSE COMBAT V: INVASION NORMANDY
Twenty years later, this RTS is still just as innovative.
Google in Court to Appeal EU's 2018 Android Antitrust Case
Google headed to a top European Union court this week to appeal a record EU antitrust penalty imposed for stifling competition through the dominance of its Android operating system.
Pip Hare on best practice crew communication
Do We Really Need New Anti-Asian Hate Crime Laws?
A holistic look at the data shatters the narrative about bias-based violence.
Who Comes Next?
The race to succeed Germany’s Angela Merkel pits caution against boldness
“Made In Chinatown” Finding Love, Culture And Heritage
Question: What’s crazier than sending your horse to audition for The Godfather, wackier than two parrots saying, “Are you talking to me?” and wilder than the Scarecrow introducing Toto to the Wizard of Oz by stating, “Say hello to my little friend,” and thereafter referring to himself as the Scar-crow?
HOT DATES: 2 SPACECRAFT TO MAKE VENUS FLYBY
Two spacecraft are set to swoop past Venus within hours of each other this week, using the maneuver to do a little bit of bonus science on the way to their main missions at the center of our solar system.
CHER'S SINGING IS ELE-PHANTASTIC!
Special recordings bringing peace to pachyderms