Forecasts that cheap gas from the United States will one day reshape the global natural gas market are increasingly commonplace, Reuters reported.
Now the first hard evidence is beginning to emerge.
Forward prices on the UK gas market suggest that traders are already pricing in expectations of a flow of gas from the United States to Europe.
The market appears to be preparing to receive liquefied U.S. natural gas (LNG) shipments three years from now, even though companies have not yet broken ground on export plants in the Gulf of Mexico.
UK curve gas for 2015 has traded at a sustained level of about $9.40/MMBtu, which is close to the cost of producing, liquefying and shipping U.S. gas to Britain from a proposed export plant in Louisiana, Reuters research shows.
It suggests that U.S. export economics may be setting a floor price for later-dated UK gas contracts.
The onset of freezing weather across Europe this week has pushed the contract to higher levels.
In the past five years, surging output from U.S. shale deposits has transformed global gas markets and revived the energy fortunes of the world's biggest economy, slashing foreign imports to virtually zero and raising hopes of exports from 2015.