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Natural Gas Tanks As US Supplies of ‘Freedom Gas’ Soar

May 30, 2019 at 19:03 by Andrew Moran

Natural gas futures are slumping towards the end of the holiday-shortened trading week as the US government reported a bigger-than-expected increase in domestic inventories. This comes soon after the White House started touting the energy source as “freedom gas” and “molecules of US freedom” as part of the administration’s America First agenda.

July natural gas futures tumbled $0.08, or 3.03%, to $2.545 per million British thermal units (btu) at 18:39 GMT on Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Natural gas prices are poised for a weekly drop of about 1%, adding to their 2019 woes. Year-to-date, natural gas is down 11%.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), domestic inventories of natural gas climbed by 114 billion cubic feet for the week ending May 24. This is higher than the market forecast of 95 billion cubic feet. In total, US supplies stand at 1.867 trillion cubic feet, up 156 billion cubic feet from the same time a year ago. They are 257 billion below the five-year average.

On Wednesday, the Department of Energy confirmed the approval of a Texas-based liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility. This is part of an initiative to increase export capacity to offer the world “a diverse and affordable source of clean energy.”

Steven Winberg, the assistant secretary for fossil energy who signed the export order, stated the latest announcement is critical in achieving the White House’s America First agenda.

But what made the statements interesting was the way the US government termed natural gas. Ostensibly, the administration of President Donald Trump is naming natural gas “freedom gas” and “molecules of US freedom.”

The administration should be concentrating on new storage projects and capacity expansions, notes Forbes magazine. The business news outlet reported that more geological sites are critical to store the energy supply in order to meet fluctuating demands, which is something neglected in this shale revolution, despite prices stabilizing. It notes that “all pending new storage projects and capacity expansions have been delayed or canceled.”

All the signs point that Washington is beginning to take the matter seriously because Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced a new Appalachian ethane storage hub.

In other energy commodities, July West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures cratered $2.44, or 4.15%, to $56.38 per barrel. July Brent crude futures dipped $0.29, or 0.44%, to $65.05 a barrel. July Gasoline futures plunged $0.07, or 3.83%, to $1.84 per gallon. July heating oil futures fell $0.055, or 2.84%, to $1.91 a gallon.

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