Saturday, September 25, 2010

US Natural Gas Stockpile Increases

Natural gas futures fell for the first time in four days on signs that Tropical Storm Matthew will avoid energy pipelines and platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.
The storm was about to come onshore near the Nicaragua- Honduras border with winds of 50 miles (80 kilometers) per hour, the National Hurricane Center said in a 2 p.m. advisory. Matthew has a 10 percent chance of becoming a major threat to Gulf energy production, according to MDA Federal Inc.’s EarthSat Energy Weather in Rockville, Maryland.
“The storm is staying a lot farther south than people thought it would,” said Phil Flynn, an analyst with PFG Best in Chicago. “It’s not a concern for gas traders, who are taking the hurricane premium out of the market going into the weekend.”
Natural gas for October delivery settled 13.8 cents lower, or 3.4 percent, at $3.881 per million British thermal units at on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures dropped 3.6 percent this week.
Matthew is no longer likely to become a hurricane, according to the Hurricane Center. The storm may move into northern Honduras tomorrow, the center said.
About 10 percent of U.S. gas output will come from federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico this year, down from 17 percent five years ago, according to Energy Department data.
U.S. Supplies
Gas stockpiles rose 73 billion cubic feet in the week ended Sept. 17 to 3.34 trillion cubic feet, 6.2 percent above the five-year average, an Energy Department report yesterday showed.
Inventories will peak at 3.687 trillion cubic feet before cold-weather demand prompts utilities to pull gas from storage, the department predicted in its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook on Sept. 8. Stockpiles rose to a record 3.837 trillion cubic feet last November.
U.S. gas production in May totaled 1.92 trillion cubic feet, the highest level since 1974, according to department data.
Gas traders seem to “be inclined to see a perpetual state of oversupply, even though storage levels are 5 percent lower than a year ago,” wrote Tim Evans, an energy analyst with Citi Futures Perspective in New York, in a note to clients.
Temperatures in the eastern half of the U.S. may be mostly normal from Sept. 30 through Oct. 4, according to WSI Corp., a forecasting company in Andover, Massachusetts. The high temperature in New York on Oct. 1 may be 71 degrees Fahrenheit (22 Celsius), compared with an average high of 69 degrees.

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