Betting on Natural Gas Futures Prices

Posted February 13, 2013 | Hans Rottmann

Which will we see first for the Prompt Month Contract of Henry Hub Gas Futures?  $3 or $3.60 NYMEX…

We haven’t been outside of this range since December 7 when the January contract closed at $3.68. On the downside, it hasn’t been below the range since September 25th at $2.92 per MMBtu.  But many are hoping for a repeat of 2012 when the prompt broke $2 and the 12-month strip was below $2.60.

Have you placed your bets? Well, the chances for a repeat of 2012 appear to be quite slim. Last year boasted the warmest winter of the 20th and 21st centuries!  And shale producers kept drilling even as prices plummeted, which led to a huge natural gas storage surplus as inventories were 88% above the previous year. By April, the result was the lowest prices in 10 years!


Groundhog Day and gas market predictions

Posted February 4, 2013 | Joseph Polka

Winter 2012-2013 has been virtually nonexistent, just like Manti Te’o’s girlfriend. Pittsburgh Steelers please don’t draft him, let the Browns have him. The lack of winter cold has brought the bears out, pushing the February 2013 prompt contract almost to its all-time low established way back in April 2012. Recently, the market has been bullish because of some colder weather and weaker natural gas storage numbers, including a recent storage report that showed the largest withdrawal in two years! However, longer term market outlook remains overall bearish, but not to the extent of 2012. Consequently, don’t expect natural gas under $2.00 MMBtu anytime soon.

Thus far, this has been a well above normal winter and only sustained below normal temperatures could normalize winter 2012-2013, which brings me to Groundhog Day. I am not talking about waking up and doing the same monotonous thing over and over again like Bill Murray. Fortunately, I don’t have those types of Groundhog days because I get to work with the gregarious and fun Mike Krygowski [a fellow blogger].


You Are Not Alone: Explaining Heat Rates

Posted January 30, 2013 | Mike Krygowski

ou are not alone if you are not familiar with what a Heat Rate is. This is a tough one to explain. But, here goes nothing.

What is a Heat Rate?
A heat rate is a measurement used in the energy industry to calculate how efficiently a generator uses heat energy. In the marketplace, heat rate is expressed in mmbtu/mwh or how many million BTUs* of heat is required to produce a megawatt (mw) of electricity. That figure tells us the Heat Rate or the efficiency of the generating facility. Types of fuel include coal, natural gas and oil to produce the majority of electricity.


My two cents: Storage, colder weather push gas futures up

Posted January 24, 2013 | Hans Rottmann

My two cents

What drives natural gas prices?  Is it as simple as the weather?

Last October and early November, temperatures for the East Coast were COOOOOOLLLLDDD. Out of the last 118 years, November was the 33rd coldest month for the Northeast Region (Pennsylvania to Maine) and even colder for the Southeast (17th coldest). What happened?

Natural gas prices rose from spot prices for the next day to long-term prices for 2015 and beyond. Prompt month* gas rose from $3.57 on November 12 to $3.90 on November 23 when the weather turned. In fact, December was one of the warmest months on record, especially until the cold snap after Christmas. Prompt month gas then fell to $3.31 on December 17.


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