MARKET WATCH: Natural gas futures prices up on storage report

The US Energy Information Administration reported Dec. 5 that working gas in storage was 3,614 bcf as of Nov. 29. This represents a net decline of 162 bcf from the previous week.

“Stocks were 200 bcf less than last year at this time and 104 bcf below the 5-year average of 3,718 bcf,” EIA reported, adding “In the East Region, stocks were 158 bcf below the 5-year average following net withdrawals of 78 bcf. Stocks in the Producing Region were 32 bcf above the 5-year average of 1,191 bcf after a net withdrawal of 68 Bcf. Stocks in the West Region were 22 bcf above the 5-year average after a net drawdown of 16 bcf.”

EIA said, “At 3,614 bcf, total working gas is within the 5-year historical range.

Analysts at Raymond James & Associates Inc. said, “As we head into the winter season, we expect weather to have a significant influence on [gas] pricing in the near term. Gas production has pulled back slightly from its recent record highs and colder weather for the next few weeks could push prices slightly higher.”

Energy prices

The New York Mercantile Exchange January crude contract climbed 18¢ on Dec. 5 to close at $97.38/bbl. The February contract also gained 18¢, settling at $97.61/bbl.

Heating oil for January delivery edged down slightly less than a cent to settle at a rounded $3.05/gal on NYMEX. Reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenate blending for January delivery also lost less than a penny, settling at a rounded $2.71/gal.

The January natural gas contract on NYMEX was up 17.2¢ to settle at a rounded $4.13/MMbtu. On the US spot market, the gas price at Henry Hub, La., settled at a rounded $3.98/MMbtu, increasing 5¢.

In London, the January ICE contract for Brent crude oil declined 90¢, closing at $110.98/bbl. The February Brent contract fell 86¢ to $110.57/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for December relinquished $3.50 to settle at $943.75/tonne.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 12 benchmark crudes closed at $108.22/bbl on Dec. 5, giving up 70¢.

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