The steepest rally in natural gas prices since 2006 is coming to an end as the 400 salt caverns, depleted oil fields and aquifers used to store the fuel in the U.S. reach capacity for the first time.
Stockpiles may surpass the record of 3.545 trillion cubic feet by as much as 350 billion cubic feet this fall, Energy Department estimates show. Gulf South Pipeline Co. says its fields in Louisiana and Mississippi are so full that customers will have to pay penalties for exceeding their limits. With no place to go, producers will be forced to dump excess fuel on the market.
The worst economic slump since the 1930s will cut demand from chemical plants to carmakers to households by 2.4 percent this year, according to government estimates. The November futures contract will drop about 19 percent to near $4 per million British thermal units, said Stephen Schork, president of consultant Schork Group Inc. in Villanova, Pennsylvania.
“I don’t know where all of this gas is going to go,” said Schork, a former natural gas trader on the New York Mercantile Exchange, who in June forecast inventories would reach near 3.8 trillion cubic feet. “We’re a month away from significant heating demand. Something’s got to give.”
The November contract has climbed 32 percent from its low of $3.662 per million Btu on Sept. 3, after economic reports signaled that the recession is ending and fuel demand will rebound in 2010. October futures, which expired today, gained 49 percent from a seven-year low of $2.508 in the same period....MORE
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Natural Gas Feint Means Prices Poised to Plummet 19%
The "plummet" in the headline is relative. As the story says, the run-up has been dramatic. The futures were recently trading down a dime. From Bloomberg: