Natural Gas Storage Climbs Even Higher Versus Last Year

natgasrigToday’s weekly US Energy Information Agency (EIA) natural gas report showed that US storage fell only 101 billion cubic feet (bcf) (which is 30% below normal). This builds on the high inventory levels I talked about last week to an even higher level of 1,885 bcf. Supplies are now 11.7% above the five-year average.

With winter drawing to a close within a few short weeks, supplies are poised to rise even higher compared to recent averages. This means the current price of ~$4 per MMBtu will probably drop. But a bullish factor on prices this week is the recent 10% increase in the price of oil. Oil and natural gas prices tend to co-move due to their ability to substitute each other as energy sources. A general rule of thumb is that oil’s price per barrel is roughly 10X natural gas’s price per MMBtu. Oil climbed above $140 per barrel last summer while natural gas almost hit $14 per MMBtu, and now the prices are $40+ to $4.

But with more recent numbers showing US manufacturing falling sharply, I believe natural gas may fall significantly below $4 even if oil climbs to $50 on fresh OPEC cuts (like the pullback that the UAE announced today).

It’s good for the climate for natural gas to substitute oil and coal. So I hope its price will remain low for at least several months before credit markets allow substitution by significant new wind and solar.

Onwards in the sustainable energy transition-

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