Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Does Natural Gas Have an Ally in Rahm Emanuel? And: After Whopping Decline Colder than Normal Forecasts Lift Prices

First up, from Carpe Diem:
Natural Gas Prices Fall 80% To a 6.5 Year Low

Update: Top chart has been added, showing a -55% decline in futures prices for natural gas between early July and late October....MORE

And from the New York Times' Green Inc. blog:
...natural gas was dealt a major blow in California with the defeat of Proposition 10. That ballot initiative, which would have created $5 billion in general obligation bonds to promote purchases of compressed natural gas and other alternative-fuel vehicles, went down in a landslide at the polls — despite heavy financial backing from Mr. Pickens.

But new hope for natural gas fuel interests may be on the way: When President-elect Barack Obama chose Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois to be his chief of staff, he chose one of Congress’s biggest proponents of compressed natural gas cars.

Last summer Mr. Emanuel introduced legislation (PDF) that would mandate automakers to build 10 percent of their fleet with natural gas fueled vehicles by 2018. His bill also included tax credits and other incentives and mandates to spread natural gas pumps to filling stations across the country.

The bill has gone nowhere, but natural gas stalwarts have expressed optimism upon Mr. Emanuel’s selection. Tom Price, a Chesapeake vice president, was quoted by The Associated Press as saying it “could be quite advantageous” having Mr. Emanuel at the president’s side as one of his closest advisers.

And with the auto industry looking for help urgently, Mr. Emanuel is going to have a chance to press his case.

Finally, from StormWire:

Natural Gas Rises on Cold Weather Forecasts

– Cold weather forecast for the Midwest and Northeast raising natural gas futures.
– Temperatures are the "trump suit" for natural gas prices this time of year.
– Rise in crude oil futures also contributing to higher natural gas demand.

As the mercury drops across the Midwest and Northeast, natural gas futures continued to rise on Monday trading. A combination of rising crude prices and predictions of cold weather are driving up demand for natural gas.

Natural gas for December delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange was trading 48 cents higher, or 7.10 percent, at 7.237 per million British thermal units on Monday, according to the Cattle Network.

"Temperatures are always the trump suit at this time of year in natural gas prices. And temperatures are expected to get colder this week," analysts with Cameron Hanover, an energy risk-management firm in New Canaan, Connecticut , wrote in a note to clients " That is almost certain to lead to bigger draws in natural gas storage than otherwise would have been the case."

The National Weather Service is reporting in their Nov. 15 to Nov. 19 forecast significantly lower than average temperatures across the Midwest and cooler-than-normal weather across crucial natural gas demand centers in the Northeast....MORE