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Gas awakening from U.S. shale slumber

After years of languishing in a shale- induced coma, the U.S. natural gas market is waking up.

Seasonal price swings will intensify as the country begins shipping liquefied natural gas cargoes to Asia and Europe later this year, said Bank of America Corp., RBC Capital Markets LLC and Wood Mackenzie Ltd.

Exports will help prices rebound from the slump caused by the U.S. pumping record amounts from shale formations. Prices have fallen 79 percent in the past seven years as new wells opened in the Marcellus shale deposit across Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.

But growing domestic winter demand is already causing spikes and trading volumes in futures markets have rebounded to the highest level in three years. Average retail gas prices also will rise with LNG exports, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

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