In the wake of a liquidation bankruptcy filing by Houston-based NorthernStar Natural Gas and the demise of its Bradwood Landing liquefied natural gas (LNG) project along the Columbia River in Oregon, executives at two remaining LNG projects in the state told NGI earlier in May that the free-spending Texas company had a problematic site and took a questionable approach to trying to get it permitted.
Articles from Liquidation
In the wake of a liquidation bankruptcy filing by Houston-based NorthernStar Natural Gas and the demise of its Bradwood Landing liquefied natural gas (LNG) project along the Columbia River in Oregon (see Daily GPI, May 12; May 6), executives at two remaining LNG projects in the state told NGI Friday that the free-spending Texas company had a problematic site and took a questionable approach to trying to get it permitted.
April natural gas spiraled lower Friday as traders noted liquidation of earlier long positions and had to factor in continuing negative economic news. April natural gas futures fell 14.3 cents to $3.945, and the May contract tumbled 15.9 cents to $4.017. April crude oil rose $1.91 to $45.52/bbl.
Ending a four-session long liquidation sell-off, the natural gas futures market turned higher Wednesday amid a combination of expiration-session short-covering and end-user strip buying. At $5.15, the March contract was up 7.3 cents for the session, but down a crushing 58 cents from its $5.73 debut as prompt contract. At 97,551, estimated volume was fairly light for an expiration day in the gas pit.
Continuing on with its goal of divesting $3.4 billion in assets for calendar year 2003, El Paso Corp. announced that it has agreed to sell all of the outstanding shares in Enerplus Global Energy Management Co. to Enerplus Resources Fund for approximately $32 million.
Having already experienced a wave of long liquidation (Friday) and a short-covering squeeze (Monday), natural gas futures were left without a major price influence on expiration day Tuesday. Modest, market-on-close selling tipped the scales in bears’ favor in the last 30 minutes of trading. The November contract finished at $4.126, down 5 cents for the session, but 23.7 cents higher than the level from which the market began its tenure as prompt month.
Shares of El Paso, Dynegy and Williams are trading at discounts to “liquidation values,” making them attractive takeover targets, according to a report released last Monday by Credit Suisse First Boston. The investment house predicts a recovery of 40-50% from the group in the next three to six months.
Adding to Thursday’s long liquidation, natural gas futures continued lower Friday morning as traders factored in the price-negative combination of mild weather forecasts and weaker physical market prices. In abbreviated, pre-holiday trading, the February contract finished the week at $2.236, down 1.8 cents for the day but up 3.2 cents for the week.
Ending a four-day, 21-cent rally, natural gas futures reversed lower Thursday as weak long traders headed for the exits amid bearish weather news. After opening at Wednesday’s high at $2.40, the prompt month took on the trajectory of a safe pushed out of a 10 story building, falling 14 cents in the first 45 minutes of trading yesterday. From that point forward, February checked to either side of $2.26 on a heavy volume of 123,632 contracts. February closed at $2.254, down 14 cents from Wednesday’s settle.
With basically no positive news on which to rear their horns, bulls were once again on the defensive Friday as a lower open forced them to either liquidate long positions or pony up additional reserves for margin calls. Naturally, some chose the former, and that selling pressure translated immediately to lower prices, as futures probed to fresh 16-month lows for the third straight session. September was the hardest hit of any of the months in the gas pit, tumbling 10.5 cents to close at $2.706.