More independent energy analysts last week joined their brethren in raising their forecasts for U.S. natural gas prices this year. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) also lifted its expectations for Henry Hub spot prices in the latest Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO).
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The United States is already significantly “energy independent” in most sectors, with transportation fuels being the notable exception, according to a Deloitte study. Here, alternative fuels, including natural gas, can bolster U.S. energy security, which is a more attainable goal than independence, the firm said.
With the exception of a few Northeast points, physical prices staged a broad rally Tuesday, averaging gains of nearly 11 cents. Moderating temperatures in New England prompted lower quotes on Northeast pipes, and futures managed to join in the rally as well. At the close of futures trading August had gained 7.0 cents to $3.187 and September had risen 6.6 cents to $3.177. September crude oil added 36 cents to $88.50/bbl.
Physical prices rose on average by about 3 cents Friday with gains widespread with the exception of Rockies and California points. Hot weather forecast across the East propelled some prices higher, but California was expected to see a cooling trend. Rockies prices continued to see increased competition from Canada. At the close of futures trading August and September each settled unchanged at $2.874 and $2.869, respectively. August crude oil added $1.02 to $87.10.
A major producer group has called on the White House to take the lead in coordinating federal reviews of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) with the goal of avoiding redundancy and streamlining work.
Wednesday’s minimal gains proved to be an accurate harbinger of a three-day market rally coming to an end. A flat Westcoast Station 2 was the sole exception to falling quotes at all other locations Thursday as the previous day’s 12.7-cent drop by prompt-month futures joined generally pleasant early-fall weather in applying downward pressure to physical gas numbers.
One Western Canada point managed to be the exception to overall double-digit price declines continuing Friday. Forecasts of unseasonably moderate late-November temperatures in many areas again were the primary drag on spot quotes, abetted by the usual drop of industrial load during a weekend. As a producer had predicted, Thursday’s rally of 8.8 cents by December futures was unable to induce a similar response in the cash market.