December natural gas is set to open 19 cents lower Friday morning at $4.30 as traders jettison forecasts of cold next week in favor of estimates of near-term warming. Overnight oil markets surged higher.
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March natural gas is set to open 16 cents higher Tuesday morning at $5.07 as traders balance somewhat milder short-term weather forecasts with expectations of the thinnest ending inventories since 2008 when spot futures traded over $10. Overnight oil markets were narrowly mixed.
Friday deliveries of physical natural gas on average were unchanged in Thursday’s trading as most traders elected to get their deals done ahead of what can often turn into a market broadside once the Energy Information Administration (EIA) releases storage figures at 10:30 a.m. EDT.
Natural gas cash values pushed higher again Tuesday for Wednesday delivery, with gains in the East recording the largest increases as the return of summer heat after weeks of below-normal temperatures sparked gas demand. After exploring gains in morning trading with a high of $3.500, the September natural gas futures contract retreated in the afternoon to close at $3.444, down 1.9 cents from Monday’s regular session close.
Chesapeake Energy Corp., with a new CEO leading the way, is beginning a new era for the company as well, moving away from spending to secure big leaseholds in the onshore to living within its cash flow.
No. 3 oilfield services provider Baker Hughes Inc. on Friday reported a 30% drop in first quarter profits, stung by weak North American drilling, its biggest market. Schlumberger Ltd., the world’s largest oilfield services operator, also reported a drop in quarterly profits on declines in North America, and management said the outlook for the United States and Canada this year remains uncertain.