Spot prices increased at most trading locations during the report week of September 24-October 1 as cooler weather moved in throughout much of the country. The Henry Hub spot price increased from $3.84 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) last Wednesday to $4.14/MMBtu yesterday. Spot prices in all markets across the country posted steady increases, ranging from $0.07/MMBtu to $0.30/MMBtu, while prices at several northeastern locations fluctuated considerably.
At the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex), the price of the near-month (November 2014) contract increased by a dime from $3.911/MMBtu last Wednesday to $4.023/MMBtu yesterday.
Working natural gas in storage rose to 3,100 Bcf as of Friday, September 26, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report (WNGSR). A net increase in storage of 112 billion cubic feet (Bcf) for the week resulted in storage levels 10.7% below year-ago levels and 11.4% below the five-year average for this week.
The total U.S. rig count for the week ending September 26 remained unchanged from the previous two weeks (ending September 12 and 19) at 1,931 units, according to data from Baker Hughes Inc. The natural gas rig count increased by 9 to 338 units while oil rigs declined by 9 to 1,592 units. Natural gas rigs are 38 units below year-ago levels, while oil rig counts are 230 units greater than their levels last year.
The Mont Belvieu natural gas plant liquids composite price decreased by 2.9% to $9.58/MMBtu for the week of September 22-26. All other product prices also declined. The ethane price decreased 2.5%, while the prices of natural gasoline, propane, butane, and isobutane declined by 2.9%, 3.5%, 2.2%, and 2.3%, respectively.
Natural gas prices increase across the country amid cooler weather. Natural gas prices increased on average by 5% in all markets except several New England trading locations. Prices continued to fluctuate at Algonquin Citygate, serving Boston, and Tennessee Zone 6 200 line, serving Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, after increasing by approximately 80% in the previous week, then declining by 11% and 26%, respectively, by yesterday. Overall, prices across the country posted steady gains week-over-week, with the Henry Hub spot price increasing from $3.84/MMBtu last Wednesday to $4.14/MMBtu yesterday. Prices in western markets increased by 2%-6%, with the California regional average ending the week at $4.36/MMBtu. Midwestern and Midcontinent prices gained $0.17-$0.28/MMBtu, with regional averages closing the week at $4.12/MMBtu and $3.94/MMBtu, respectively. Spot prices in the producing region of Texas and Louisiana followed a similar pattern, gaining a few cents each day of the week, for a cumulative increase of $0.17-$0.30/MMBtu across the region's trading locations. Prices in the Rocky Mountains gained on average $0.16/MMBtu to close the week at $3.93/MMBtu at Opal and $3.92/MMBtu at Kern River markets.
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Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration