(Bloomberg) -- Natural gas surged above $9 per million British thermal units in the US for the first time since 2008, extending a breakneck rally as concerns about a supply crunch intensified. 

Stockpiles of the heating and power-plant fuel remain below normal for this time of year as exports soar to a record, and output from shale basins remains muted. A drought on the West Coast is expected to curb hydro-power generation, while forecasts for hotter weather across the East are slated to boost demand for air conditioning and natural gas.

Gas prices have skyrocketed globally because of an energy crunch that has been aggravated by the war in Ukraine, with buyers in Europe and Asia vying for U.S. supplies of liquefied natural gas. 

A sustained gas rally would normally prompt US power generators to switch to cheaper coal in droves. But so many coal plants have shut due to environmental and economic pressures that gas demand has become resilient to high prices.

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