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Charles Kennedy

Charles Kennedy

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U.S. Natural Gas Prices Climb Nearly 3% On Robust Demand

  • United States natural gas prices rallied on Wednesday, trading up 2.93% at $2,389 per million British thermal units.
  • The price increase was driven by a combination of cooler temperatures and a drop in wind power generation, both of which increased natural gas demand.
  • Despite the uptick in natural gas prices, record production in the U.S. and renewed imports of Canadian natural gas following the Alberta wildfires are keeping prices under pressure.

Cooler temperatures this week and a dip in available wind power this month are boosting the demand outlook for June for U.S. natural gas, leading to nearly 3% price gains on Wednesday. 

At 9:45 a.m. EST on Wednesday, U.S. natural gas futures were trading up 2.93% at $2,389 per million British thermal units (Btu).

While the weather is a big driver of prices on Wednesday, natural gas is also gaining on a downturn in renewable energy from wind farms, which has increased usage of natural gas over the past few weeks.

Counterbalancing a further uptick in natural gas prices is record production in the U.S., combined with a resumption of a similar level of Canadian gas exports to the U.S., which had declined due to wildfires raging in Alberta that led to some production shut-in.

According to Reuters, citing federal energy data, wind power generation this week accounted for only 7% of total U.S. power generation, down from 17% in mid-April. 

On Tuesday, natural gas futures had hit a one-week low, largely due to an anticipated increase in U.S. output combined with the return of full volumes of Canadian exports on the U.S. market. 

Last week, Baker Hughes released a report indicating that oversupply conditions and a collapse in prices have led the U.S. natural gas sector to start pulling drilling rigs at the fastest pace since February 2016. Last Friday, Baker Hughes reported that E&P companies had reduced rigs by 16 to a total of 141.

In April, a key provider of rigs to the American shale patch warned that rig leases were on track to drop by 9% by the end of June as drillers press pause due to prices that have plunged from over $10 per million Btu in August last year. 

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com


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