Natural gas is currently trading at $4.35 per MMBtu.
Key factors at play in the natural gas market –
- Extreme weather in the East Coast, where the temperature is regularly falling close to zero, along with the lower level of inventories is pushing the price of natural gas higher.
- More extreme weather is expected around Europe, which is likely to keep price elevated.
- The United States and the European Union have agreed in principle in bringing U.S. LNG to Europe.
- China surpassed Japan as the biggest natural gas importer.
- Russia says that the biggest pipeline project reaching China is almost over.
- Japan’s nuclear power generation is reviving again, which would curtail the LNG demand.
- Price in Europe declining sharply after breaking into record highs and currently trading at 65 pence therm. Russia and the United States are set to fight for market share in Asia and in Europe. US preparing to become major natural gas exporter to the EU and Asia.
- Large Natural gas producers in the United States continue to expand production per rig. US exports are increasing significantly. The United States remains the largest petroleum and natural gas producers in the world.
- U.S. production is rising fast. Currently, U.S. is the third biggest exporter of natural gas.
- U.S. exit from Iran nuclear agreement complicates the future of vast natural gas reserves in Iran. Recently, French energy giant ‘Total’ exit lucrative Iran gas project amid sanctions.
- NATO sanctions on Russia might disrupt its gas supplies to Europe.
- Russia is likely to dominate the Chinese gas market, fastest growing in the world.
- With natural gas turning into a buyers’ market, big importers like Japan are renegotiating long-term contracts with a resale clause attached.
Now, for the inventory,
According to the latest numbers, working gas in underground storage remains at 3.054 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). Stocks are 644 Bcf less than last year at this time and 720 Bcf below the five-year average. The chart from EIA shows the level of inventory. The second chart from investing.com shows weekly changes in inventory.
- Last week, the inventory declined by 59 billion cubic feet against an expectation of 77 billion cubic feet decrease. Today 61 billion cubic feet draw expected.
- EIA will release the inventory report at 15:30 GMT.