Natural Gas Hubs & Market Centers
Natural gas hubs and market centers are corollaries of market restructuring and federal mandates which occurred in the early 1990s. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Order 636
required pipeline transportation companies to separate sales and transportation services in an effort to engender greater competition among
natural gas sellers.
There are 37 of these market centers across the United States. The Opal Hub (located in south-eastern Wyoming) is the principle market center for the Jonah and Anticline fields and services approximately 20 customers. Henry Hub
, located in Erath, Louisiana, is the primary pricing point for natural gas futures contracts traded on the NYMEX. Henry Hub interconnects nine interstate and four intrastate pipelines.
Spot prices have historically been lower at the Opal Hub (located in south-central Wyoming) when compared to the Henry Hub. This phenomenon has been attributed by some to the limited pipeline
capacity at the Opal hub, causing producers to undercut their prices in an effort to compete for the limited pipeline space. The addition of greater pipeline capacity, through projects such as the Rockies Express, is thought to ameliorate this problem.