Natural gas accounts for almost a quarter of United States energy consumption, and the NYMEX Division natural gas futures contract is widely used as a national benchmark price. The futures contract trades in units of 10,000 million British thermal units (mmBtu). The price is based on delivery at the Henry Hub in Louisiana, the nexus of 16 intra- and interstate natural gas pipeline systems that draw supplies from the region's prolific gas deposits. The pipelines serve markets throughout the U.S. East Coast, the Gulf Coast, the Midwest, and up to the Canadian border. An options contract and calendar spread options contracts provide additional risk management opportunities.
The NYMEX mini natural gas futures contract, designed for investment portfolios, is the equivalent of 2,500 mmBtu of natural gas, 25% of the size of a standard futures contract. The contract is available for trading on the NYMEX Clear-Port electronic trading platform and clears through the New York Mercantile Exchange clearinghouse.