The heat wave that scorched the West has dissipated, but natural-gas prices have yet to cool off.
The power-generation fuel has been in high demand to run air conditioners and make up for parched hydropower markets, and forecasters expect booming exports and more steamy weather to keep supplies down and prices up.
Natural-gas futures have gained 35% since April and are more than twice the price a year ago, settling Monday at $3.935 per million British thermal units. They have traded as high as $4.16 in recent days.
The highest summer gas prices since 2014 have yet to entice producers to send many more drilling rigs into their fields, though. After years of flooding the market, the big Appalachian producers that drive the U.S. market are sticking to plans to maintain relatively flat output, accumulate cash and keep natural-gas prices high enough for profits.
The austerity in Appalachia has analysts and traders predicting lean inventories heading into heating season. Price outlooks on Wall Street are being revised higher.