Policies that take advantage of the U.S. fossil fuel energy abundance — natural gas, oil and coal — could spark “widespread employment growth” in many areas of the country, according to new research by the Manhattan Institute.
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The Carlyle Group LP and Sunoco Inc. on Monday stepped up with an ambitious plan to keep the doors open at the oldest continuously operating refinery on the East Coast. The new venture is eyeing growth from the gassy Marcellus Shale that surrounds the refinery, while the oily Bakken Shale would provide up to 140,000 b/d of low-cost fuel supplies.
Marcellus Shale reserves may spark life into a shuttered, 110-year-old oil refinery complex south of Philadelphia that once supported nearly 500 jobs, according to IHS Inc. researchers.
Natural gas futures bulls received the spark they were looking for Thursday after the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that only 31 Bcf was injected into underground storage for the week ending April 22. Because most industry estimates heading into the report were for an injection of about 40 Bcf, traders responded by pushing June natural gas futures to a close of $4.571, up 16.3 cents from Wednesday’s regular session close.
A weekend hangover was apparent Monday as brutally cold temperature forecasts for the East did little to spark near-month natural gas futures higher. The February contract closed out Monday’s regular session at $5.542, up only 2.6 cents from Friday’s finish.
Ending the streak of losing sessions at two, natural gas futures held on to an early advance Wednesday as light short-covering buoyed the market on expiration day. The February contract completed its tenure as Nymex prompt month at $5.775, up 5.9 cents for the session, but down 46.8 cents since its debut as the spot contract a month ago.
It was difficult to discern a clear market direction Thursday as futures prices soared and plummeted, dragging the cash market behind. The EIA reported a larger than expected 111 Bcf weekly storage withdrawal, which initially sent prices higher, but it wasn’t enough to sustain a rally. Futures ended down about a dime and cash prices were mixed with some points up 15 cents while others were down 20 cents.
Williams CEO Steve Malcolm said Thursday he remains concerned about the “noise” from the ongoing energy merchant industry investigations by FERC, the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the “uncertainty as to where those might lead.” Malcolm made the comments during a conference call to discuss the company’s third quarter earnings.
After checking lower in the moments following the 10:30 a.m. ET release of fresh storage data (70 Bcf injection), the natural gas futures market worked its way higher late Thursday morning and afternoon as buyers sided with the seasonal tendency for prices to climb during the month of September. As it turns out, that buying was enough to withstand two distinct selling surges Thursday morning as technical traders attempted to induce a move below key support levels at $4.55 and $4.44. October finished the session at $4.81, up 11.6 cents for the session.
A couple of transactions that were announced by El Paso Corp. earlier this week to improve its liquidity position have raised a red flag at FERC, which has asked the Houston-based energy company to furnish further details by mid-March.