June natural gas futures crashed hard to finish the week, which casts doubt on the impetus behind the rally of the last two weeks. Some traders said the swift retreat shows that the rally was less driven by fundamentals and more fund-driven, which calls into question the reports during the week of the sizeable open interest position held by the United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG). Front-month natural gas closed at $4.098 on Friday, down 19.4 cents from Thursday and 21.3 cents lower than the previous week’s finish.
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Columbia Gas Transmission has questioned Washington Gas Light’s (WGL) proposal that casts the pipeline in a leading role in the utility’s efforts to prevent further coupling leaks on its system, which WGL blames on regasified liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Columbia Gas Transmission Wednesday questioned Washington Gas Light’s (WGL) proposal that casts the pipeline in a leading role in the utility’s efforts to prevent further coupling leaks on its system, which WGL blames on regasified liquefied natural gas (LNG).
After spending most of the session near Monday’s $4.94 high, the November natural gas futures contract sold off late in the session Tuesday as weak longs took profits ahead of the Thursday release of potentially bearish storage data.
Although it won’t boost its still-sagging credit rating, Nevada Power Co.’s financial push last week drew a positive response for Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services (S&P) last Wednesday when it labeled as a “positive development” the utility’s new short-term credit facility with Merrill Lynch. It provides additional liquidity this summer for Nevada Power, one of two private-sector electric utilities under Reno, NV-based Sierra Pacific Resources.
Although clearly an attempt by FERC to extend an olive branch to states and regions miffed by certain elements of the federal agency’s pending standard market design (SMD) proposal, the head of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) last Tuesday said that an SMD white paper recently unveiled by FERC doesn’t go far enough in meeting state concerns over retail electric jurisdictional issues.
The credit “assessment,” or opinion of Standard & Poor’s that surfaced Wednesday in the third day of Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy confirmation hearings has strengthened the utility’s argument that the competing reorganization plan from state regulators and the official unsecured creditors’ committee will not work in getting the utility back to investment-grade credit ratings. The utility sees it as proof the alternative plan can’t be confirmed by the federal bankruptcy judge.
Almost a year after Enron Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection, NRG Energy and Reliant Resources find themselves unable to rule out the possibility they won’t ultimately find themselves traveling down the same Chapter 11 path that the former energy trading giant did in December 2001.
FERC delivered a powerful one-two punch in energy, financial and political circles last week. First, it released explosive documents that appeared to all but substantiate charges that the once-mighty Enron Corp. manipulated trading in the California power market. And before the shock waves had subsided, it launched an industry-wide dragnet targeting 150 electric suppliers to find out just how widespread the use of questionable trading practices has been in the western wholesale energy markets. The gas industry could be the next target, some believe.
Before its sudden downfall, Enron remained at the top of the charts in energy trading and marketing, holding the lead for most of the history of NGI’s ranking of the largest gas marketing companies by volumes sold. It held that spot in the third quarter, but that soon will change, and the impact of Enron’s fall probably will reduce transaction volumes among the other top marketers in the near term, according to Ronald Barone of UBS Warburg.