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Natural Gas Flat As Supply Build Matches Market Expectations

August 22, 2019 at 17:23 by Andrew Moran

Natural gas futures are trading relatively flat on Thursday after the US government reported an increase in domestic supplies, effectively matching what the market expected. Traders will now keep an eye out on a flurry of industry activity in several natural gas markets.

October natural gas futures dipped $0.005, or 0.27%, to $2.16 per million British thermal units (btu) at 16:57 GMT on Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Natural gas prices are poised to record a weekly loss of more than 2%, sending their year-to-date losses to just under 25%.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), domestic inventories of natural gas jumped 59 billion cubic feet for the week ending August 16, which is line with the median estimate of 61 billion cubic feet. In total, supplies stand at 2.797 trillion cubic feet, up 369 billion cubic feet from the same time a year ago. Also, they are 103 billion below the five-year average.

There is a growing trend occurring in the US that is starting to turn heads: The ban of natural gas.

According to The San Francisco Chronicle, the San Francisco Bay Area might be the next California region to prohibit natural gas. Lawmakers are anticipated to introduce legislation that would ban natural gas in new municipal buildings in an attempt to “address” the energy source’s impact on the environment.

But other jurisdictions are considering similar measures in The Golden State, including Petaluma, San Jose, and Santa Rosa. Last month, Berkeley banned the use of natural gas in new buildings.

While this will have minimal effect on prices, it may be a development to watch out for.

Meanwhile, in what may be a developing trend for the American energy sector, Arkansas is witnessing steady output decline. The Land of Opportunity has seen production fall 13% from the same time a year ago, according to monthly data from the state Department of Finance and Administration (DFA). With layoffs more pronounced in the state, the multi-year lows are starting to have an impact on production levels. Consumption and demand remain healthy in the state.

Mexico’s Comisión Nacional de Hidrocarburos (CNH), the nation’s oil and gas regulator, predicts that natural gas contracts will double within the next two years. Officials are citing energy reforms since 2013 as one of the leading factors for growing the natural gas sector.

The government of Peru confirmed on Tuesday that Argentine energy firm Pluspetrol will slash production at its natural gas plant because it is repairing a leak found in one of its pipes

In other energy commodities, October West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures slid $0.29, or 0.52%, to $55.43 per barrel. November Brent crude futures slipped $0.21, or 0.35%, to $60.09 a barrel. October gasoline futures slumped $0.02, or 1.1%, to $1.67 a gallon. September heating oil futures shed $0.01, or 0.6%, to $1.85 per gallon.

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