The “Texas team” of BP’s Southeast gas trading desk engaged in next-day fixed-price natural gas trading at the Houston Ship Channel (HSC) in 2008 in order to benefit its HSC-to-Henry Hub spread position tied to the index, according to testimony by industry analysts filed at FERC Monday by the agency’s Office of Enforcement (OE) staff.
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Citing disasters involving commodities, from the Macondo oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to recent crude oil tanker train crashes to the Three Mile Island nuclear leak in 1979, the Federal Reserve Board on Tuesday said it was re-examining the risk involved in the physical commodity activity of financial holding companies (FHC). The banking agency issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking seeking comment on how to limit risk.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) reportedly is investigating whether JPMorgan Chase & Co. has manipulated U.S. energy markets, but neither the department nor the company will comment on the reports.
A number of Congressional lawmakers have expressed concern about the extent of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s jurisdiction in cases involving the manipulation of the futures and physical gas markets, said Commission spokeswoman Mary O’Driscoll.
Forced back into action following the Thursday Independence Day Holiday, physical gas traders in quiet trading Friday for weekend and Monday delivery managed to push most price point averages higher by a few cents, except for in the Northeast and California. Coming off dollar-plus losses on Wednesday, a number of Marcellus Shale-related points reversed course Friday to gain 80 cents or more. California was the only area in the red, with multiple points dropping a nickel to 15 cents.
Physical natural gas prices tumbled 8 cents overall in Wednesday’s trading as traders prepared for the Independence Day holiday, and many sections of the country expected to see mild weather. Nearly all points were in the red, and Northeast points bucked the downtrend, but a couple of points in the Marcellus suffered losses of over a dollar or more.
Physical natural gas prices on average gained a penny Tuesday with traders seeing no immediate need to make purchases during a holiday-muted trading week. Upper Midwest points added a couple of cents, and West Coast citygate prices were lower as forecasts of power demand were tempered. At the close, August futures were up 7.7 cents to $3.654 and September had added 7.8 cents to $3.651. August crude oil rose $1.61 to $99.60/bbl.
Physical natural gas prices on average gained a penny in trading for Tuesday deliveries, but California prices soared as next-day power made huge weather-driven gains. Northeast locations were also strong, but many market hubs were flat to within a couple of pennies higher or lower.
Physical natural gas overall fell 2 cents in Thursday’s trading, but that followed the typical Thursday script of traders getting their deals done prior to the release of Energy Information Administration (EIA) inventory data.
Physical natural gas prices Wednesday for Thursday delivery fell an average of 8 cents nationally as double-digit, power-driven declines in the East and Northeast prompted declines in next-day gas that at some points exceeded $1.00. On the West Coast, however, prices made small advances as the independent system operator predicted high next-day power loads. At the close of trading the expiring July contract had added 6.0 cents to $3.707 and August rose 6.7 cents to $3.737. August crude oil gained 18 cents to $95.50/bbl.