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Natural Gas Rises on Deep Freeze, Drop in US Supplies

January 25, 2019 at 16:40 by Andrew Moran

Natural gas futures are paring their losses to finish off the trading week. Natural gas prices are rallying on the deep freeze impacting parts of the US and government figures that show a decline in inventories that matched median estimates. But the energy commodity remains in the green so far this month.

February natural gas futures advanced $0.04, or 1.25%, to $3.14 per million British thermal units (btu) at 15:18 GMT on Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Natural gas is on track for a weekly slide of more than 8%, bringing its year-to-date gains to just about 6%.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), domestic inventories fell by 163 billion cubic feet for the week ending January 18, which closely matches the market forecast of 160 billion cubic feet. In total, US stockpiles stand at 2.37 trillion cubic feet, up 33 billion cubic feet from the same time a year ago. They are 305 billion below the five-year average.

Natural gas is looking to take advantage of the cold spell affecting much of North America.

After investors gave up hope that winter would be as brutal as long-term forecasts suggested, the deep freeze appears to be settling in. All of the weather models suggest that a polar vortex is settling into parts of Canada and the US, and this could break temperature records. The news allowed natural gas prices to snap their multi-session skid on Thursday.

Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s biggest oil producers, is looking to dip its toe into natural gas.

Amin Nasser, the CEO of Saudi Aramco, told Reuters that the company is considering to purchase natural gas assets in the US, adding that the business is ready to spend billions of dollars to become a major natural gas player in the global market.

We have agreed to bring an additional $10 billion in the Motiva refining complex.

We do have appetite for additional investments in the United States. Aramco’s international gas team has been given an open platform to look at gas acquisitions along the whole supply chain. They have been given significant financial firepower — in the billions of dollars.

It is estimated that its strategy will require $150 billion of investment over the next decade.

In other energy commodities, March West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures tacked on $0.25, or 0.47%, to $53.38 per barrel. March Brent crude futures rose $0.14, or 0.24%, to $61.25 a barrel. March gasoline futures were flat at $1.40 per gallon. March heating oil futures were unchanged at $1.87 a gallon.

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