Natural Gas Price Forecast: Will the Market Rebound in 2024?

In 2022, the natural gas market was thrown into turmoil by Russia’s natural gas supply cuts to Europe. These supply cuts exacerbated the energy shortage caused by lower-than-expected renewable energy generation and growing demand from the post-COVID reopening.

European gas prices spiked to record highs, briefly reaching over €330 per megawatt-hour (MWh), throughout 2022 due to Russia’s supply cut, which aimed to retaliate against Western sanctions after it invaded Ukraine in February of that year. Before the invasion, Russia supplied 40% of Europe’s gas imports.

European Natural Gas 5-Year Price Performance Chart.
European Natural Gas 5-Year Price Performance Chart.

The gas crisis in Europe led to a domino effect, with prices of super-chilled liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Asia and the US also soaring to multi-year highs throughout 2022 due to the spike in demand from Europe.

However, the natural gas market took a breather in 2023. A combination of higher LNG imports, improved energy efficiency, and a supply security policy helped Europe avert an energy crisis caused by Russia’s supply cuts. Slowing economic activity, as central banks stepped up their interest rate hike measures to fight high inflation, eased energy demand, subsequently cooling energy prices.

With Europe now sitting in a comfortable stockpile and global economic growth expected to remain subdued, what will be the natural gas price forecast for 2024 and beyond?

Key Takeaways

  • Anticipated subdued economic growth and limited scope for production growth are seen as constraining natural gas demand growth.
  • Natural gas prices are likely to remain under pressure from limited demand.
  • Wars in Ukraine and the Middle East could be a tailwind to natural gas prices.
  • Natural gas price trends are mixed in 2025 depending on the level of US production and geopolitical tension.

Natural Gas Price Predictions Summary

Year Forecast Range Key Factors
2024 Henry Hub: $2.65/MMBtu, $3.25/Mcf

Dutch TTF: €28-35/Mwh, $12/Mcf

Asian LNG: $11.4/Mmbtu

  • Slowing economic growth
  • Europe’s sufficient stockpile
  • China’s slowing economic growth
  • Geopolitical tensions
2025 Henry Hub: $2.9/MMBtu, $3/Mcf

Dutch TTF: €29-40, $10/Mcf

Asian LNG:$14.1/Mmbtu

  • Supplies from new projects enter the market
  • US production levels
  • Geopolitical tensions (Middle East, Russia-Ukraine war)
2026-2030 Henry Hub: $2.75/MMBtu

Dutch TTF: $8/Mcf

Asian LNG: –

General sentiment: mixed

  • Energy transition, the share of coal and renewable energy in the energy mix
  • Additional new production capacity

Natural Gas in 2023: Prices off Multi-Year Highs

A warmer winter which reduced demand for heating and Europe’s push to manage demand as well as boost supply security amid Russia’s supply cuts, had brought down natural gas prices from their highs by the end of 2022.

According to the EU’s report, the block’s gas storage was 94.9% filled by November 1, 2022, and was still at 83.4% by December 31, 2022, well above the target of 80%. To fill up the storage and make up for the loss, the EU stepped up LNG imports from the US and Asia following Russia’s decision to stop gas supplies via Europe’s key gas pipeline Nord Stream 1 in late August 2022.

LNG is natural gas chilled into liquid under  -160 degrees Celsius to enable the fuel to be transported through the sea. Once reaching the destination, LNG will be processed into gas at regasification facilities, and then it is distributed via pipeline to customers.

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On the demand side, EU member states also agreed to reduce their gas consumption by 19% between August 2022 and January 2023. These measures put significant pressure on natural gas prices.

By the end of 2022, Dutch TTF dropped 77.5% to €76.3/Mwh, from a record high of €336.19/Mwh on August 26, 2022.

In the same period, the price of Japan Korea Marker (JKM), the Asia LNG benchmark assessed by S&P Global Platts, also fell nearly 58% to $29.5/MMBtu from $69.95/MMBtu in August 2022.

Meanwhile, the price of US natural gas at Henry Hub fell by 55% to $4.47/MMBtu by the end of 2022, down from a multi-year high of $9.987/MMBtu in August. Henry Hub is a major natural gas pipeline near Erath, Louisiana, that serves as the official delivery point for futures contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX).

US Natural Gas 5-Year Price Performance chart.
US Natural Gas 5-Year Price Performance chart.

Natural gas prices continued a downward trend in 2023, pressured by lackluster demand.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global gas consumption only increased by 0.5% in 2023, which was insufficient to offset losses in 2022, when demand fell 1.5%.

IEA wrote in its Gas Market Report Q1 2024:

“The rapid expansion of renewables and improving nuclear availability weighed on natural gas demand in Europe and mature markets in Asia, driving prices lower. Mild winter weather conditions together with gas-saving measures also reduced gas use in the residential and commercial sectors.”

China, North America, and gas-rich regions in Africa and the Middle East were the primary drivers of demand increase in 2023.

According to the IEA’s data, China’s natural gas consumption rose 7% last year, helping the nation reclaim its position as the world’s largest LNG importer. In contrast, efficiency policies lowered natural gas usage in Europe by 7%, the lowest level since 1995.

Throughout 2023, Dutch TTF recorded the steepest decline, falling 67.5% to $13.11/MMBtu from $40.34 in 2022, according to World Bank’s data on March 4.

The US natural gas price also fell about 60% to average at $2.54/MMBtu in 2023, from $6.37 in 2022.

Meanwhile, Japan’s LNG spot price saw the smallest drop, decreasing about 21% to $14.39/MMBtu in 2023 from $18.43 in the previous year.

European vs. US Natural Gas Price Chart.
European vs. US Natural Gas Price Chart.

Tailwind and Headwind for Natural Gas Price in 2024

So far, the downtrend in natural gas prices has continued in the first months of 2024. At the time of writing on March 11, Dutch TTF was trading around €25.4/Mwh, falling about 21% year-to-date (YTD).

Asian LNG was trading more than 26% lower from the start of the year at $8.46/Mmbtu on March 11, while the US natural gas price has dropped nearly 29% so far this year to trade at around $1.78/Mmbtu.

ANZ Research’s analysts David Hynes and Soni Kumari wrote in a note on March 7, 2024:

“Global gas prices appear to have found a base, as subdued demand is met by ongoing supply issues. Fears of energy shortages appear to have abated. Warmer weather and subdued economic activity have allowed consumers to restock after two tumultuous years. Supply and demand look evenly balanced in 2024.”

Before we dive into the natural gas price forecast, we explore what factors will drive natural gas prices this year.

Demand Growth to Accelerate

In its Gas Market Q1 Report, IEA forecast that global gas demand could grow by 2.5% in 2024, compared to 0.5% in 2023. Fast-growing markets in Asia-Pacific and gas-rich countries in Africa as well as in the Middle East would spur the demand.

ANZ Research noted that attracted by lower spot LNG prices, emerging Asia, notably South and Southeast Asian countries led by India, would drive LNG demand this year to levels similar to 2023.

The bank’s analysts Hynes and Kumari wrote on February 9, 2024:

“Pakistan and Singapore will both see more contract volume deliveries, and imports will ramp up into new markets like the Philippines. The exception is Thailand, which will see LNG demand growth slow as domestic production recovers.”

However, slowing consumption in key LNG markets in Asia could limit demand growth. ANZ Research projected a weaker demand from Japan and South Korea as the two countries accelerated the restart of nuclear power generation. In addition, the bank also projected a small increase in coal-fired generation.

An increase in China’s gas demand will likely be capped by ongoing weakness in the country’s economic growth. Based on ANZ Research, China’s economy is to grow slower at 4.2% in 2024 from 5.1% in 2023.

A surge in Russian pipeline gas exports is another factor that may further constrain LNG demand growth, Hynes and Kumari said.

Global LNG Supply Growth Limited

Despite high production growth in Africa and the United States, which surpassed Australia and Qatar as the world’s top LNG exporters in 2023, global natural gas supply growth would be capped by a restricted increase in LNG supply.

IEA expected global LNG supply this year to grow by 3.5% due to multiple causes, including potential delays in starting up new liquefaction plans and geopolitical tension.

The agency wrote in its quarterly report:

“Potential start-up delays at new liquefaction plants, a tense geopolitical context, worsening feed-to-gas issues at specific legacy projects and risks related to shipping all represent downward risks to the current outlook, which could fuel price volatility through 2024.”

Meanwhile, ANZ Research expected global LNG supply to remain flat in 2024 after rising about 1.5% in 2023 on a slight drop in production from projects in the Pacific Basin. The drop will be off by small gains in the Middle East & Africa region and the Atlantic Basin.

According to ANZ Research, six LNG projects are set to begin operations across Russia, the US, Mexico, and Africa.

“Late starts and anticipated lower utilization rates could push down the volume that will come to market,” wrote Hynes and Kumari.

Potential Ban on Russia’s Gas Exports

The European Union has not imposed any sanctions on Russian natural gas from pipeline and LNG. However, an amendment to EU gas market rules agreed upon last year is set to let EU members stop deliveries of Russian pipeline gas and LNG, Euractiv reported.

According to ANZ Research, Russian gas, both in LNG and pipeline, accounted for 13% of Europe’s overall supplies last year, down from 40% in 2021. Europe imported 14.16 mt LNG in 2023.

While any Russian gas bans would result in more Russian LNG cargoes moving to Asia, freeing up Asian cargo to enter Europe, Hynes and Kumari predicted that trade flows would be disrupted until they adjusted.

Hynes and Kumari said:

“Any ban could see upward pressure on the European domestic gas price. If that resulted in gas prices moving ahead of LNG, consumers could choose to switch to LNG. Further upside is possible if European gas prices rise during the northern summer, which would entice more spot cargo flows to the continent.”

Geopolitical Risks

Heightened geopolitical tension, particularly with the ongoing war in Ukraine and disruption of shipping on the Red Sea, pose risks to LNG supply.

Russia’s LNG exports face risks of disruptions as Ukraine broadens its strategy of attacking Russian targets far from the war’s frontlines, said ANZ Research Hynes and Kumari. In January, Novatek was forced to suspend the operation of the Ust-Luga gas terminal on the Baltic Sea after it was hit by a drone attack.

Over the last months, security in the Red Sea has worsened due to continuous attacks on vessels by the Yemen-based Houthi militia. These attacks are in support of Palestine in the ongoing conflict between the Palestinian Hamas Group and Israel.

The attacks have disrupted global trade, posing risks to LNG supply, said ANZ Research, adding that In 2023, around 15.5mt of LNG arrived in Europe from the Middle East via the Red Sea. This represented around 13% of Europe’s total LNG imports.

Hynes and Kumari added:

“Avoiding the Red Sea means re-routing vessels around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, adding about 12.5 days to the voyage each way. However, this may not have an impact until

 

European gas storage has diminished enough to force panic buying before the next heating season.”  

US Gas Production

During the energy crisis in 2022, the United States’ natural gas production helped Europe plug a deficit from Russia’s supply cuts, becoming the continent’s largest supplier.

Data from a not-for-profit international organization, CEDIGAZ, as cited by EIA, showed that the US supplied 48% of total European LNG imports in 2023, compared to 44% in 2022 and 27% in 2021.

CEDIGAZ and the International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers (GIIGNL), EIA
Source:
CEDIGAZ and the International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers (GIIGNL), EIA

Last year, the country produced a record 103 billion cubic feet (bcf) per day, up 4 bcf/day from an already record level in 2022, according to IEA, but production growth was expected to slow this year.

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicted the country’s dry natural gas production could average 104 Bcf/d in 2024, about one Bcf/d lower than the previous estimate in January. Output will increase to more than 106 Bcf/d in 2025, according to the agency.

Natural Gas Price Forecast for 2024

Analysts/Source Natural Gas Price Forecast 2024
ANZ Research $11.4/MMBtu (LNG)
ABN-Amro €35/Mmbtu (Dutch TTF)
ING €28/Mmbtu (Dutch TTF)
Fitch Ratings $12/Mcf (Dutch TTF), $3.25 (Henry Hub)
Trading Economics $1.9/MMBtu (Henry Hub) end of 1Q
EIA $2.65/MMBtu (Henry Hub)

While analysts only offer natural gas price outlook for certain markets, they generally expected prices to trend down in 2024.

Osama Rizvi, Energy and Economic analyst at Primary Vision Network, told Techopedia that the chances of another natural gas price spike are thin due to sufficient gas supply across the world and the global economy remaining in a slowdown.

However, Rizvi added, answering Techopedia’s question via email:

“If there is further escalation in the Middle East or other regions, then we might see a temporary surge in prices.”

In its natural gas price forecast for 2024, ANZ Research saw Japan spot LNG price to trade at $11.4/ Million British Thermal Unit (Mmbtu), dropping from $29.1/Mmbtu) in 2023.

ANZ Research’s David Hynes and Soni Kumari said:

“With economic growth across most major regions expected to slow this year, there are reasons to believe there will be downward pressure on global gas prices. Nevertheless, we see a multitude of risks skewed toward tightening markets and pushing prices higher.”

As for Dutch TTF, ING, ABN-Amro, and Fitch Ratings expected European hub prices to fall this year.

ING predicted a nearly 32% drop in Dutch TTF price in 2024 to $28/MMBtu from $41 in 2023.

In its latest forecast released on February 27, ABN-Amro expected European natural gas prices to reach $35/MMBtu in 2024, a little change from $35.2 in 2023.

Meanwhile, Fitch Ratings was not so optimistic, expecting Dutch TTF to average $12/Mcf in 2024, a 7.7% decline from $13/Mcf in 2023.

In the US market, EIA and Fitch Ratings were more upbeat in their natural gas price forecast for 2024, projecting Henry Hub gas to rise in 2024.

EIA projected Henry Hub’s price to average $2.65/MMBtu in 2024, up from $2.59 in 2023, while Fitch Ratings saw the price rise to $3.25/Mcf from $2.80 in 2023.

Data provider Trading Economics expected US natural gas to trade at $1.90/MMBtu by the end of 1Q 2024.

Natural Gas Price Forecast for 2025

Analysts/Source Natural Gas Price Forecast 2025
ANZ Research $14.1/MMbtu (Asia LNG)
ABN-Amro €35-€40
EIA $2.96/MMBtu
Fitch Ratings $10/Mcf (Dutch TTF), $3/Mcf (Henry Hub)
ING €29
Trading Economics $2/MMbtu

For 2025, natural gas price projections showed a mixed picture, with some analysts expecting prices to fall further. Others were upbeat that the fuel will rebound next year.

Rizvi of Primary Vision Network said without giving a natural gas price forecast in detail:

“Natural gas prices will remain range-bound during 2025. New wave of LNG supply is set to keep the world well supplied.”

In its natural gas price forecast for 2025, ANZ Research predicted Japan’s LNG spot price to rise to $14.1/MMbtu, up from $11.4 in 2023.

For European gas, Dutch banks  ING and ABN-Amro projected Dutch TTF price to rise in 2025, while Fitch Ratings forecast the price may trend lower.

Dutch TTF may rise to €29/Mwh from €28 in 2024, according to ING’s estimate on March 6.

In a global economic forecast on March 6, ABN-Amro expected Dutch TTF to trade higher at between €35 to €40/Mwh in 2025.

On the contrary, Fitch Ratings estimated European gas prices to drop to $10/Mcf in 2025 from an estimated $12/Mcf in 2024.

In the US, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicted US natural gas prices to average $2.94/MMBtu in 2025, up from an estimated $2.65 in 2024.

Long-Term Outlook: Where Will Natural Gas Prices Be in 2026-2030?

Analysts/Source Natural Gas Price Forecast 2026-2030
Fitch Ratings (2026) $2.75/Mcf (Henry Hub), $8/Mcf (Dutch TTF)
Osama Rizvi Bullish

Predicting natural gas prices for the long term is challenging due to a multitude of factors at play. Therefore, a natural gas price forecast for 2030 is not readily available.

On the demand side, natural gas consumption is influenced by the demand for other fossil fuels, notably coal and renewable energy.

Before the war in Ukraine, several countries, including China, had pledged to gradually phase out coal to achieve their net-zero emission targets. However, the soaring natural gas prices in 2022 led to an increase in coal consumption by countries such as China and those in Europe.

Primary Vision Network’s Rizvi said that in the long term, the potential for new gas supply is promising. 

He projected that around 200 million tons of new natural gas capacity are expected to come online in the next five years.

In terms of the energy transitions, Rizvi said that LNG will still play an important role in maintaining energy security in many Asian and developing countries. He said:

“So I don’t think LNG is going to go anywhere. It will stay in the picture.”

The Bottom Line

Natural gas prices will continue to face pressure due to constraints in demand growth caused by limited supply growth and ongoing subdued global economic activity.

However, heightened conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine are contributing to upside risks on prices.

In the long run, the natural gas price trend remains a mixed picture, with multiple factors at play, including geopolitical tensions, US natural gas production, and the role of fuel in helping countries transition to cleaner energy.

Do your own research and always remember your investment decision depends on your attitude to risk, your expertise in the commodity market, the spread of your portfolio, and how comfortable you feel about losing money.

The information in this guide does not constitute investment advice and is meant for informational purposes only.

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Fitri Wulandari
Financial Journalist

Fitri has over 20 years of experience in financial journalism. She has contributed to various international media outlets, including Dow Jones Newswires, Bloomberg, and Reuters, before joining Techopedia. She spent the first 15 years of her career covering commodity and energy news, later transitioning to general financial writing. These days, she conducts interviews with industry players and analysts and reports on international conferences. Fitri holds a degree in International Relations, supporting her expertise in financial journalism. She occasionally serves as a guest trainer for journalistic training and as a moderator for panel discussions.