Cash prices averaged about a nickel higher Thursday as cooler weather and higher prompt power prices kept the market well bid. Northeast points led the march higher with double-digit gains, but the move higher was broad and pervasive.
Articles from Prompt
Natural gas and oil liquids are expected to expand globally, U.S. energy imports will continue declining and a reordering of the fossil fuel mix in North America will prompt a rethinking of domestic energy policy, according to the authors of a study due out later this summer.
Continuing low prices, which have resulted in large part from an oversupply of natural gas, will prompt exploration and production (E&P) companies to cut dry gas capital expenditures (capex) by nearly 40% this year, Moody’s Investors Service said Friday.
Cash prices on Friday rose throughout the country except for in the Northeast following Thursday’s strength in futures, but the March contract eased as the market couldn’t shake the stranglehold of moderate weather and plump storage.
Prompt-month natural gas futures plunged to the lowest point in 28 months and lowest winter-month point in 10 years Wednesday as unrelenting warmer-than-normal forecasts across important eastern and Midwest energy markets forced traders to anticipate continued growth in an already burdensome storage surplus. At the close of trading February settled down 16.7 cents at $2.774 and March had fallen 16.7 cents as well to $2.803. February crude oil shed $1.37 to $100.87/bbl.
With some help from a 13.3-cent gain Friday in the prompt-month debut by April futures and colder forecasts for most territory east of the Mississippi River, prices firmed at nearly all points Monday. The restoration of industrial load following its usual weekend decline also contributed to the overall advance.
After a wild week of ups and downs as January futures traded between $4.328 and $4.637, traders on Friday took a bit of a break as the prompt-month contract traded in a tighter range and ended up closing the regular session at $4.417, down 1.8 cents from Thursday’s finish but 6.8 cents higher than the previous week’s close.
Feeding off Monday’s 18.9-cent decline, January natural gas futures continued to plumb lower price levels on Tuesday. The prompt-month contract reached a low of $4.126 before closing the regular session at $4.180, down 3 cents from Monday’s finish.
Rising prices grew even more prominent in the market Wednesday as enough regions are starting to feel enough early-autumn chill to prompt noticeable heating load. It isn’t much yet, as overnight lows in the 40s and 50s remain the most common temperature depths, but abetted by a prior-day gain of 1.6 cents by November futures it was sufficient to drive most points higher by generally small amounts.