Cold snap drives gas prices, rekindles pipeline debate

January 3, 2018

Bitterly cold weather is causing a spike in natural gas prices that is rekindling debate over expanding pipelines to the region.

Last week, wholesale prices for natural gas more than tripled to their highest level in three years, rising to $35.35 per million British Thermal Units on the spot energy market that supplies much of New England. The spike earned the region a dubious distinction as "the world's priciest market."

Industry officials blame a lack of pipeline capacity for the prices, saying consumers will ultimately foot the bill.

"This is an entirely needless problem for our region," said Steve Dodge, president of the Massachusetts Petroleum Council. "New England is just 200 miles east of some of the most abundant, low-cost natural gas in the world from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale region."

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