April natural gas is set to open a penny higher Friday morning at $4.39 as traders mull a big-picture seasonal temperature outlook and factor in low inventory levels and an uncertain storage refill. Overnight oil markets were mixed.
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Natural gas marketers continued to report significant declines in sales in the last three months of 2013 compared with 4Q2012, and the top three marketers — BP plc, Shell Energy NA and ConocoPhillips — were among those with the largest declines, according to NGI’s 4Q2013 Top North American Gas Marketers Ranking.
Physical gas for Friday delivery plunged at all market points in Thursday’s trading with losses ranging from about a quarter to multiple dollars.
With the country’s “extraordinary winter for natural gas consumption” winding down, thoughts of gas market players have been on what’s left in gas storage caverns and what it will take to refill them in time for winter 2014-2015.
April natural gas is expected to open 3 cents lower Wednesday morning at $4.58 as traders consolidate positions ahead of Thursday’s inventory report and the weather outlook is little changed. Overnight oil markets tumbled.
The North American energy sector — from exploration and production (E&P), oilfield services and midstream — still has a big target on its back again this year among activists that want to force changes, according to Moody’s Investors Service.
Physical natural gas prices for Thursday delivery on balance gained over 50 cents, but double-dollar gains in New England and along the Atlantic Seaboard were more than able to offset weaker quotes in the Midwest, Midcontinent, California and the Rockies. The gains on Wednesday were weather-driven as a fast moving winter storm was moving to the East Coast through Friday. At the close of futures trading, April had dropped 11.5 cents to $4.490, and May was off 10.3 cents to $4.441. April crude oil slumped $2.04 to $97.99/bbl.
Spot gas for delivery Wednesday gained ground in Tuesday trading ahead of a pervasive late-winter storm expected to impact the Rockies and Midwest before moving on to New England and the East.
Physical gas for Tuesday delivery fell sharply at many points in Monday’s trading. Particularly hard hit were locations in the Northeast, as moderating weather was seen sending Tuesday temperatures to above normal readings. Locations in and around New York and Philadelphia were softer as well, but Marcelllus points advanced. California points were steady to higher. At the close of futures trading April had advanced 3.3 cents to $4.651 and May was up 0.9 cent to $4.576. April crude oil slumped $1.46 to $101.12/bbl.
Natural gas for weekend and Monday delivery was highly varied in Friday’s trading. A major interstate pipeline declared a force majeure, and although earlier polar vortices do not seem to be in play, many traders were not desirous of being short gas going into the weekend with cold weather clearly an added risk.