For companies that make plastics, fertilizer and other chemicals derived from natural gas, the falling prices are nothing short of a windfall. The same goes for makers of products from steel to bricks to beer. All use a lot of natural gas to heat their furnaces. U.S. manufacturers are becoming more competitive globally as a result of the countrys cheap natural gas, industry officials say.
A 35 percent collapse in the futures price over the past year has been a boon to homeowners who use natural gas for heat and appliances and to manufacturers who power their factories and make chemicals and materials with it.
The country is flush with natural gas as a result of new drilling techniques that have enabled energy companies to tap vast supplies that were out of reach not so long ago. The country’s natural gas surplus has been growing even as the country burns record amounts.