November natural gas engaged in its typical post-Energy Information Administration (EIA) storage report gymnastics Thursday, but traders saw other forces at work rather than the on-target EIA storage figures.
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A coalition of 69 environmental groups has urged President Obama to “employ any legal means” to halt hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and suggested a federal moratorium until further environmental studies of the practice are completed.
The capital costs for building a typical natural gas-fired electric generation plant are going up, and it appears to be a trend in that upward direction for the first time in nearly a decade, according to the IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) capital cost index for North America released on Wednesday.
In a typical case of “buy the rumor, sell the fact,” August natural gas futures pushed higher in early Thursday morning trade in anticipation of a bullish storage injection for the week ending July 16. However, once the news broke of a 51 Bcf injection, front-month values came off a bit. While the August contract went on to close the session 13 cents higher at $4.643, some market watchers were surprised the rally wasn’t larger considering the bullish injection, extended summer heat and a tropical depression bearing down on the Gulf of Mexico.
Idaho regulators approved a rate settlement for Spokane, WA-based Avista Utilities, pushing typical monthly residential natural gas and electric bills up a buck each starting Aug. 1. The Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) said its approval means Avista residential customers will pay just slightly more than an added 1% — about $1 — as the net result of four rate adjustments.
Prices continued to fall at nearly all points Friday due to generally mild weather forecasts and the previous day’s 9.4-cent decline by May futures. The typical weekend decline of industrial load was an additional bearish factor.
As a marketer had predicted the day before, cash prices dropped at nearly all points Friday. The softness was due to moderate weather conditions typical of a shoulder month being prevalent in most regions, Thursday’s nickel dip by May futures and the decline of industrial load during a weekend.
Rising temperatures in the Northeast, modest futures strength on the previous Friday and the return of industrial load from its typical weekend downturn caused prices to rise Monday in most of the cash market. But in what is becoming a familiar — but unwanted — week-starting routine for Rockies producers, quotes plunged by double-digit amounts, leaving all points in the region averaging less than a dollar.
Consumers scream when their gas bills spike, and the typical utility response is to say that commodity costs are just a pass-through; the utility doesn’t make any money on the gas it delivers. That’s true, but it doesn’t mean utilities don’t feel the pinch of higher gas prices, too.