Sunday, July 6, 2008

Natural Gas Price May Rise This Week if Weather Storms Appear

July 4 (Bloomberg) -- Natural gas may rise in the days ahead as hot weather spurs demand from utilities and a tropical storm churns through the Atlantic Ocean.

Seven of 18 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News, or 39 percent, said prices would rise through July 11. Six, or 33 percent, said futures would fall. Five said prices would be little changed. Last week, 53 percent of survey participants said prices would rise.

``The heat maps look supportive and we have this tropical storm out there,'' said Chris Jarvis, president of Caprock Risk Management LLC in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire.

Hotter weather typically curbs the expansion of storage by increasing demand from gas-fired power plants for electricity to run air conditioners.

Tropical Storm Bertha developed yesterday in the eastern Atlantic, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said. Storm track forecasts show Bertha staying away from the U.S.

Storms that approach the Gulf of Mexico can force energy companies to shut gas-production platforms.

Gas in storage gained 85 billion cubic feet in the week ended June 27, the U.S. Energy Department said yesterday. Inventories rose to 2.118 trillion cubic feet, 2.6 percent below the five-year average for this time of year. The increase was less than the 89 billion analysts had expected.

Natural gas for August delivery rose 2.9 percent this week to settle at $13.577 per million British thermal units yesterday, the highest close since Dec. 21, 2005.

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