Thanks to energy industry deregulation, Sempra Energy Solutions,a Sempra Energy subsidiary, entered into a contract Thursday to actas energy consultant to W.W. Grainger Inc., a leading distributorof maintenance, repair, and operating supplies. “We recognize thatenergy is no longer a one-point, one-choice, one-price service,”said Craig Kozak, real estate project manager for W.W. GraingerInc., “For this reason, we have contracted with Sempra EnergySolutions to assist us through the landscape of today’s competitivemarketplace.”
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The Canadian natural-gas community sees potentially sharp priceincreases developing on its horizon, thanks to a happy coincidenceof pipeline expansions and economic conditions on the supply side.As the Alliance Pipeline accepted its final certificate for itsU.S. leg from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, risingprices were being predicted by prominent fixtures ranging fromPeters & Co., an investment boutique specializing in energystocks, to the dean of Canadian geological and engineeringconsulting houses, Sproule Associates.
The July Nymex contract gained 2.8 cents to settle Monday at$2.364, thanks in large measure to momentum the contract gainedafter it filled in the technical chart gap with its early move downto $2.295. However, the upside was capped by resistance at $2.43,and July settled right in the middle of its technical tradingrange. “July trading is pretty much in cruise control now,” asource said. “A lot of people have already gotten out of theirpositions, so I think you’ll see the rangebound trading continue[today]. However, that range is 15 cents, so trading will mostlikely be volatile, which will be the first time in months acontract has expired with a good dose of volatility,” he told GPI.
The June Nymex contract spiraled 8.0 cents lower to $2.130 onWednesday, thanks to what an analyst said was traders unloadinglong positions ahead of the latest AGA storage report. That report,which came in at 78 Bcf, was slightly above the expected range of50-75 Bcf, and nearly double the 46 Bcf report from last year.
The June Nymex contract slipped 4.2 cents to $2.215 on Tuesday,thanks to what one analyst said was intraday selling off technicalresistance at $2.26. Total estimated volume came in at 39,705contracts. “Cash started to rally, so futures have pretty muchconverged with cash. The market is being very cautious, after thebreak last week,” a broker told Daily GPI.
The May Nymex contract soared to unprecedented heights onTuesday, thanks to an 11.3 cent surge that left the contract at$2.522. May posted a high of $2.53, which is a source said is thetop of a long term technical trading formation. The fact that Maysettled so close to that high price is a bullish sign, he said, andfor that reason, he believes May has a good shot at moving to itsnext resistance level of $2.58 when trading resumes today.
The May Nymex contract rallied 5.7 cents to settle Monday at$2.409, thanks to what sources said was good peak demand buying inthe physical market. “There was definitely some peak airconditioning demand in Texas today, and that’s exactly where youwant to see it to influence natural gas prices,” one of the sourcessaid. Buoyed by that strength, May had no problem rising from itsopening trade of $2.345, which also turned out to be its low pricefor the day.
The April Nymex contract gained 3.7 cents to settle Friday at$2.321, thanks to what one broker called strong fund buying.However, April may be hard pressed to add much more to that.According to the latest Commitments of Traders report,non-commercials extended their net long position by 7,649 contractsto 9,543 during the last two weeks. The broker estimates that 60%of those positions are in April, which would mean these speculatorswould have to wind out of approximately 5,700 April contractswithin the next four weeks. However, if April breaks out of itsrecent technical trading range within the next several days, it islikely funds will add to their overall long position, meaning moreselling pressure would mount on April and May as we approach theApril expiration, a source argued.