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Evolution of the prices of natural gas in the main market areas

This graph presents the evolution of wholesale prices for the three main market zones: Western Europe, North America and Southeast Asia (including Japan).

Sources: SDES, World Data Bank, Energy Information Administration (2022)


Until 2009, general trends in the three zones where mostly in line. In 2009, a real divergence started. On one hand, the price of gas in Asia skyrocketed mainly because of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. On the other hand, the rise of unconventional natural gas exploitation in the United States explains the sustained drop in prices on the American continent since 2008. Under theses circumstances, the spread between these two countries has reached a record level (39.05€/MWh in 2012).

Since 2016, LNG prices in Asia have almost halved. This is due to the indexation of many long-terms contracts on oil prices, which have decreased by 50% in 6 months. Since the beginning of 2016, prices have increased, reflecting the oil barrel’s price continuous rise. It can be explained by a re-balance of supply and demand. After an increase, the price of oil on the stock market is now low since October 2018. This is mainly due to an overabundant supply from Russia and the United States. OPEC, which drives down the price of a barrel and consequently the price of gas, the latter being indexed to the price of oil. The world sanitary crises due to COVID-19 has accelerated this oversupplied trend, causing European and US gas prices to fall and reach historically low levels. Following this crisis, prices reached again generally recovered to normal levels as the general recovery in activity, before reaching historically high values caused by supply disruptions and geopolitical tensions created by the war in Ukraine.

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