Daily spot prices of natural gas in December at key western trading hubs in the United States exceeded every other market in the country, including the benchmark, due to cold weather, high demand and supply issues, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Jan. 24.

"On Dec. 21, 2022, daily natural gas spot prices at three major trading hubs in the western U.S. - Pacific Gas & Electric Citygate, Northwest Sumas on the Canada-Washington border, and Malin, Oregon - were higher than $50.00/MMBtu," the EIA said.

By contrast, U.S. natgas futures had a rough ride in December, their worst monthly showing in four years, concluding a blistering and volatile 2022 on a sour note.

According to a report on the EIA's website, widespread, below-normal temperatures, high natural gas consumption, lower natural gas imports from Canada, pipeline constraints, including maintenance in West Texas, and low natural gas storage levels in the Pacific region contributed to the rise in prices.

Freeport LNG, the second largest U.S. LNG exporter, had its export facility in Texas knocked offline by a fiery blast on June 8 last year and was barred from resuming production until federal regulators completed an extensive safety review and approved resulting changes.

This week, it said repairs were completed and sought to take early steps to restart the facility.