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Natural Gas Slides 1% on Weekly Supply Jump

April 11, 2019 at 20:29 by Andrew Moran

Natural gas futures tumbled more than 1% on Thursday after the US government reported a weekly jump in domestic inventories. Natural gas is also finding direction on reports that President Donald Trump has ordered the removal of barriers to construction of new and existing pipelines, which could boost US output to even higher levels and increase the country’s global market share.

May natural gas futures fell $0.03, or 1.05%, to $2.67 per million British thermal units (btu) at 17:59 GMT on Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Natural gas has not performed at the same level as it did last year, dipping nearly 1% year-to-date. The energy commodity is on track for a 1% weekly gain.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), domestic natural gas inventories climbed by 25 billion cubic feet for the week ending April 5. This is nearly in line with market forecasts of 33 billion cubic feet. In total, US stockpiles stand at 1.155 trillion cubic feet, and they are 485 billion below the five-year average.

President Trump recently signed two executive orders that eliminate barriers to new and existing natural gas pipeline construction across the country. The move is meant to increase energy infrastructure and get rid of barriers that block current plans for national natural gas transportation and interstate pipeline construction.

The EOs are expected to speed up the construction of a 124-mile pipeline project that extends from Pennsylvania to New York.

Trump told a Texas crowd that featured engineers:

In a few moments I will sign two groundbreaking executive orders to continue the revival of the American energy industry, and will cut through destructive permitting delays and denials. Where it will take you 20 years to get a permit, those days are gone.

We made a lot of progress in the last two-and-a-half years, haven’t we? We took down a lot of barriers to production and the pumping.

Meanwhile, demand will continue to soar in 2019 as the EIA estimates that new capacity could add more than six gigawatts of electricity capacity, with much of the additions going to Florida, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania. In total, natural gas will represent more than one-third of all new utility-scale capacities. This comes as more than half of all planned electric plant retirements in 2019 will come from coal, totaling about 4.5 GW.

In other energy markets, May West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures fell $1.02, or 1.56%, to $63.60 per barrel. June Brent crude futures slipped $0.88, or 1.23%, to $70.87 a barrel. May gasoline futures dropped $0.04, or 1.95%, to $2.02 a gallon. May heating oil futures dipped $0.0175, or 0.84%, to $2.07 per gallon.

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