ISSUES: LOOKING BACK 2015 – More LNG could flow to Boston this winter
Above: An LNG tanker passed under the Tobin Bridge and into the Mystic River in Chelsea.
Could extra LNG supplies help restrain winter gas prices?
Energy companies are seeing weaker demand for natural gas in Asia and Europe. By Jack Newsham GLOBE CORRESPONDENT OCTOBER 25, 2015
Changes in energy markets as far away as China could help prevent natural gas shortages and moderate heating and electricity costs in New England, analysts said.Foreign energy companies, facing weaker demand and lower prices for liquefied natural gas in Asia and Europe, are likely to turn to the New England market and send extra shiploads to terminals near Boston. That could help prevent the price spikes that historically have occurred in the region’s wholesale energy markets during periods of extended cold and high demand.
Last winter, LNG imports helped ease shortages and soften prices and contributed to lower winter electric and gas rates for the coming winter.
Electric rates jumped a year ago as a result of shortages of natural gas, which is used to generate more than half of the region’s electricity and to heat an increasing number of homes. Boston is served by four gas terminals, including one in Canada, but most have historically seen little use.
Last year, 14 deliveries were made, all of them to a terminal in Everett owned by Distrigas, a unit of the French company Engie SA (formerly GDF Suez). But Nicholas Potter, an analyst for the British financial services company Barclays PLC, said an additional three to five shiploads of gas could arrive this winter, supplying the region with an extra 9 to 15 billion cubic feet of gas, or a few days’ supply.