Gas Market Update (October 23, 2012)

- October 23rd, 2012

A brief overview of gas price developments, supply and demand and significant market movers.

Canadian natural gas rose to an 11-month high last week after the US Department of Energy reported a decline in gas storage surplus.

The November gas contract in Alberta rose to its highest level since November 2011 when the Department of Energy confirmed that inventories grew by 51 billion cubic feet (Bcf) last week, less than both the five-year average gain of 71 Bcf and last year’s 106 Bcf increase.

Meanwhile, a US energy analyst told CBC News that Irving Oil may be “eyeing the Ontario and Quebec energy markets after receiving approval by U.S. authorities to export natural gas to Canada.”

The Department of Energy has given Irving’s subsidiary, Irving Oil Terminals of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, approval to ship 58 Bcf of natural gas from the US to any Canadian entry point.

Supporters of liquefied natural gas (LNG) will launch the first major campaign to push lawmakers to allow the sale of more US gas abroad as the industry push for exports intensifies.

The Centre for Liquefied Natural Gas plans to create a new website that will emphasize to policy makers and the public that selling the nation’s surplus natural gas to foreign countries will yield significant economic benefits and will not lead to a dramatic increase in prices, according to Reuters.

Asia should set up a regional spot market for natural gas trading to reduce high acquisition costs, the International Energy Agency (IEA) chief has stated.

“I think it’s of the utmost importance that in Asia there needs … to be developed a spot market for gas because it’s not there at the moment,” Maria van der Hoeven, the IEA’s executive director, said at a conference in Singapore.

Pointing to Shanghai — which established a domestic natural gas spot trading platform earlier this year — van der Hoeven noted that the entire region needs a similar platform.

“Japan imported LNG at $18 per million British thermal units ($18 MMBtu) this summer, compared to $3 MMBtu prices in the United States and $10 to $12 in Europe,” she added.

Gas for November delivery rose this week to $3.617 MMBtu on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement price since December last year. Prices are up 21 percent this year.

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