Sunday, April 11, 2010

$3.81 MMBTU Causes Pause in Thoughts

By Reg Curren
Eight of 19 analysts, or 42 percent, said the futures contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange will advance through April 16. Five, or 26 percent, said gas will decline and six others said there would be little change in price. Last week, 44 percent of participants said the contract for May delivery would rise.
“We’re in the middle of generator-maintenance season,” said Chris Kostas, an analyst with Energy Security Analysis Inc. in Wakefield, Massachusetts. “Mid-Atlantic outages will reach 20,000 megawatts, a 4,000-megawatt increase.”
Power plants typically conduct maintenance during the so- called shoulder season when electricity demand falls with the end of the U.S. winter and before higher temperatures revives usage to run air conditioners.
Electricity production capacity available from nuclear plants has declined 6.4 percent to 77,058 megawatts since April 1, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Total nuclear capacity is about 101,000 megawatts.
Prices may rebound above the top of a recent rally that reached $4.334 per million British thermal units on April 6, Kostas said. Gas touched a six-month low of $3.81 on April 1 before rallying and may repeat the same pattern next week, he said.
Natural gas for May delivery this week fell 1.6 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $4.07 per million British thermal units on the exchange.
The gas survey has correctly forecast the direction of prices 47 percent of the time since its June 2004 introduction.
--Editors: Bill Banker, Charlotte Porter
To contact the reporter on this story: Reg Curren in Calgary at
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at

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