The shale development frenzy of the last couple of years has cooled dramatically in recent months as natural gas prices, and more recently crude and natural gas liquids prices, have plummeted. Out of the 13 U.S. plays for which NGI’s Shale Daily tracks unconventional rig counts, nine are showing a lower level of drilling activity than one year ago, with most of them recording a drop of 30% or more.
Articles from Frenzy
December natural gas closed lower Tuesday as traders elected to join a bearish feeding frenzy and saw no bullish developments on the horizon that would preclude prices working another 20 cents lower. At the closing bell December had fallen 5.4 cents to $3.404 and January had retreated 5.8 cents to $3.542. December crude oil continued its march to the century mark and posted a gain of $1.23 to $99.37/bbl.
June natural gas prices worked lower amid a frenzy of selling in other petroleum markets. Natural gas traders see a pervasive interest by funds and managed accounts in pursuing the short side of the market, but they caution that any surprises could send prices sharply higher.
Natural gas futures gave back a few pennies on Friday but still settled north of $4 for the second straight day as the frenzy of tropical weather activity, which to date has spared U.S. energy interests, could be lining up for a Gulf of Mexico strike by the end of the month.
The frenzy over gas-fired power generation is well off the boil as developers turn their attention to coal-fired and nuclear plants as well as renewables. However, the specter of carbon dioxide regulation casts doubt on coal-fired generation economics, potentially favoring alternatives, including gas.
After checking higher for much of the session Wednesday, natural gas futures moved back down to near unchanged, despite the release of a lower-than-expected storage injection figure. Buyers propelled the December contract back above the psychologically important $3.00 level just as the report was released. However, the advance failed to retest Monday’s $3.08 high, and that was a sign of weakness to traders. The December contract sifted lower from that point, closing with a one-cent loss at $2.87.
While hasn’t there been a slow-down in the frenzy of exploration and production activity in the Rockies since gas prices in the region have plummeted in the last few months while prices in other areas of the country have experienced much softer declines? The answer, according to Raymond James & Associates analyst Wayne Andrews, is that significant new pipeline infrastructure is on its way to help relieve continuing constraints.
The national pipeline expansion frenzy continued last week with Tennessee Gas Pipeline announcing a certificate application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to add new pipeline capacity in New England at its connection with the Maritimes & Northeast pipeline, which imports Canadian gas produced offshore Nova Scotia at the Sable Offshore Energy Project.
The national pipeline expansion frenzy continued this week with Tennessee Gas Pipeline announcing a certificate application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to add new pipeline capacity in New England at its connection with the Maritimes & Northeast pipeline, which imports Canadian gas produced offshore Nova Scotia at the Sable Offshore Energy Project.