Analyst Predicts Increased Gas Reserves

A veteran natural gas reserve and production expert has issued abearish warning to natural gas market observers: 1998 total reserveadditions could jump as much as 3 Tcf from 1997’s figure to between22 and 23 Tcf. That would be well above the range of 14.9 to 20.2Tcf over the last nine years. With 1998 production estimated atabout 19 Tcf the forecast adds up to reserve additions exceedingproduction by 116% to 121%.

October 21, 1999

Bearish Storage Data Demotes Prices Again

To say the weekly storage report has had an impact on thenatural gas futures market lately would be a gross understatement.Following an impressive 69 Bcf injection on Sept. 1, the futuresmarket dropped 26.6 cents the very next day. Then a week later,following the release of a relatively small 66 Bcf refill, themarket took a wild, 24-cent ride higher to close the session in themid-$2.80s. Now, a week later the question that everyone is askingis whether we will see another big move today. At first glance theanswer to that question was a resounding “yes” because shortlyafter the storage figures were released the October contracttumbled a dime lower in after-hours Access trading.

September 16, 1999

Storms, Options Exert Bearish Influence on Futures

Feeding off Wednesday’s weakness and reflecting fading concernsthat any of the three tropical systems would reach the gas-richGulf of Mexico, the futures market tumbled lower yesterday as bothcommercial and speculative traders exited long positions. Theresultant price slide left the September contract just penniesabove its $2.90 low for the week and turned several bulls intoshort-term bears. The prompt month finished 8.2 cents lower at$2.948 shortly after notching a $2.93 low late in the session.

August 27, 1999

Bullish Screen Defeats Bearish Weather to Push Cash Higher

The cash market switched gears Tuesday, as gains of 3 to 11cents at most points reversed a two-day trend of general weakness.A strengthening futures screen replaced the slackening powergeneration demand as the main market driver, one trader said, andthe result was increasing gas prices despite moderatingtemperatures throughout the nation.

August 4, 1999

The Bulls Never Had a Chance

After being hit with a devastating combination of bearish newsFriday afternoon and Monday morning, traders at the New YorkMercantile Exchange had little choice when the market reopened. TheJuly contract took it on the chin, gapping lower on the open beforeposting a 7.1-cent decline to finish at $2.237. The August contractdid not fare any better, slipping 6.9 cents to $2.268. Estimatedvolume was solid with 78,116 contracts changing hands.

June 22, 1999

Bearish Results do not Hinder Bullish Outlook

Normalizing weather caused cash prices at most points to drop afew cents to nearly a dime yesterday with the Chicago pointsaccruing the largest losses, but the downturn failed to abatemarketers’ optimism, which was buoyed by a new six- to 10-dayforecast calling for below-normal temperatures for a large portionof the nation.

April 20, 1999

Short Covering Lifts Futures Back Above $1.70

Some would say that bull traders have endured a year’s worth ofbearish price news already this year as consistentlywarmer-than-normal weather forecasts each Monday have been followedby lower-than-expected storage withdrawal figures Wednesday. Thisone-two combo has done a number on natural gas prices, which haveplumbed to near-record lows amid almost non-existent volatility.But for at least a day, that was a distant memory Monday asshort-covering, egged on by a slew of fundamental and technicalfactors, buoyed the prompt-April contract 7.3 cents to $1.701.

March 2, 1999

Flat (Yes, Again) Market Asks: What Storage Report?

The cash market shrugged off what many considered a bearishstorage withdrawal report and maintained what has become February’sstatus quo Thursday: flat pricing with mostly tight ranges. Sourceswere dismayed to admit their general expectation Wednesdayafternoon of falling prices Thursday was off the mark. “Nothingseems to be moving this market in any direction,” a marketer in theWest said.

February 19, 1999

Analysts See Spring Price Plunge Followed by Major Winter Spikes

With weather forecasts producing bearish news at every turn andnational storage reserves looming ever larger, Raymond James &ampAssociates recently published a report projecting spot wellhead gasprices will drop below the $1.50/Mcf level before the beginning ofsummer. The study, however, also warns of a gas “price shock” inearly 2000, when gas shortages run rampant and production is unableto keep up because of sharp declines in exploration and productionspending. It seems the industry is in store for a spot marketroller coaster ride.

February 15, 1999

Swing Prices Depart January on an Even Keel

Incremental prices closed out the month of January once againdefying bearish demand factors. In deals done Friday, most averagesvaried little from their Thursday positions. And though traderswere separating weekend business into Saturday/Sunday andMonday-only deals due to the shift from January to February, theyreported little appreciable difference in pricing between the twotime periods.

February 1, 1999