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Chinese Natural Gas Seller: Prices Could Go Negative

ENN Energy Holdings, one of China’s largest natural gas distributors, is not ruling out the possibility that natural gas prices could follow last month’s WTI Crude move and flip to negative because of insufficient storage.  

“For natural gas, I have heard about the possibility of negative prices. I also think it could happen,” Wang Yusuo, chairman at ENN Energy Holdings, said at the company’s online shareholders’ meeting on Wednesday, as carried by Bloomberg.  

“That’s because natural gas has even more limited storage capacity and its production is also more rigid. So it may happen. But I don’t think it will be a dominant or long-lasting scenario,” Wang added.  

The manager, however, did not specify which natural gas benchmark in which region could turn negative.

Such a move in natural gas prices would not be something totally unheard of, especially after last month’s plunge of the WTI Crude front-month oil futures contract a day before its expiry.

A negative price for natural gas in some regions would not be a first.

In the spring of last year, natural gas prices at the Waha hub in West Texas plummeted to record low negative levels, as pipeline constraints and problems at compressor stations at one pipeline stranded gas produced in the most prolific U.S. shale oil basin.

As far as the Henry Hub U.S. natural gas benchmark prices are concerned, the EIA expects in its May Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), the spot price at Henry Hub to remain low compared with historical levels in the near term, due to lower business activity and higher-than-average storage levels.

In Q3 2020, lower natural gas production and higher industrial and heating demand are set to lift Henry Hub prices.

The EIA expects the Henry Hub spot prices will rise from an average of $2.14 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) this year to an average of $2.89/MMBtu in 2021.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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