Physical natural gas prices advanced nationally by about a nickel Tuesday as traders cited a resilient prior-day futures screen and favorable storage differentials. Points across the country were up mostly by a dime or less, except for some eastern locations, which recorded moderate declines. Nuclear outages continued to remain high. At the close of futures trading April had eased 1.6 cents to $2.335 and May had given up 3.4 cents to $2.432. April crude oil tumbled $2.48 to $105.61/bbl.
Articles from Screen
Despite getting prior-day screen support and frigid weather continuing to linger in several regions, cash prices were down at a large majority of locations Thursday. The market may regain its footing as soon as Friday, however, as the West leads yet another turnaround to lower temperatures in a substantial portion of North America.
ConocoPhillips is facing some takeaway issues for its liquids in the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas, but that’s only a minor blip on the screen and has done nothing to reduce the company’s enthusiasm for unconventional plays, executives said Wednesday.
Getting an assist from the screen, moderately hot forecasts for much of the East and desert Southwest along with a patch of cold in the Rockies caused cash quotes to be flat to up by mostly small amounts at a large majority of points Thursday.
Despite negative guidance coming from the screen’s 12.8-cent decline in December natural gas futures Friday, a vast majority of cash points traded Monday for Tuesday delivery moved higher — from a few cents to just more than a dime.
Moderate to cool conditions were still dominating the overall forecasts, and as a couple of sources had pointed out, Thursday’s 24.8-cent screen plunge “practically guaranteed” lower prices Friday. They were correct as quotes fell across the board from about C5 cents to 30 cents or so; all drops were in double digits except for those at Empress and NOVA Inventory Transfer in Western Canada.
With no guidance coming from Tuesday’s neutral screen action, cash market traders were left to their own devices on Wednesday. Some Midwest averages and almost all western averages continued Tuesday’s run higher with additions of a few pennies to a little more than 15 cents, while the rest of the country saw small pullbacks of up to a nickel.
Cash prices shrugged off the previous day’s screen drop of 11.7 cents and slightly receding cooling load and instead focused on the modest increase of potential in a tropical storm named Alex reaching the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) production area as they recorded gains at virtually all points Wednesday.
The natural gas market made it four in a row Thursday as prior-day screen support and chilly temperatures in a number of regions around the country led to cash point increases at a vast majority of locations.