Excluding the big weather-derived drops at eastern points, physical natural gas fell about 6.5 cents on Monday, a little more than the slip-sliding futures. At the close of futures trading March had fallen 4.6 cents to $2.431 and April had given up 3.6 cents to $2.620. March crude oil jumped $2.24 to $100.91/bbl.
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Cash prices around much of the country on Monday rose about a dime, excluding double-digit losses posted at a number of eastern points. Traders ascribed the gains primarily to an early surge in March futures. However, the late session futures decline should result in lower cash quotes Tuesday.
Energy analysts predict more than 50% of the natural gas produced in the United States will come from shale by the year 2030, coupled with a rising demand for natural gas in power generation and an opportunity to export to world markets.
Marathon Oil Corp. has agreed to pay $3.5 billion to acquire the Eagle Ford Shale assets of Hilcorp Resources Holdings LP. Along with other transactions expected to close by the end of this year, Marathon’s Eagle Ford position is expected to more than double to 285,000 net acres, the company said.
Devon Energy Corp., which took the prospective Barnett Shale and turned it into one for the ages, disclosed Wednesday that it has leased 250,000 net acres in the emerging Tuscaloosa Marine Shale of southwestern Mississippi/central Louisiana for a cost of around $180/acre.
Two big-ticket acquisitions in the Fayetteville Shale by BHP Billiton Petroleum and XTO Energy Inc. suggest that the pace of development in the play will be accelerating, acknowledged Steve Mueller, CEO of Fayetteville veteran Southwestern Energy Co. But his company can hold its own, having locked in some of its costs and beaten down drilling times, Mueller said.
In recognition of the “value gap” between oil and natural gas prices, Chesapeake Energy Corp. will continue to direct a big chunk of its technological and leasehold acquisition expertise to “identify, secure and commercialize” new unconventional liquids-rich plays, CEO Aubrey McClendon said Wednesday.
ExxonMobil Corp. last year added 3.5 boe to its proved reserves, replacing 209% of production. It was the company’s 17th consecutive year of reserve replacement exceeding 100% of production.