Natural Gas Weekly Update for Week Ending May 23, 2012
Release Date: May 24, 2012
In the News: Natural Gas Rig Count Briefly Drops Below 600. The natural gas rotary rig count, as reported by Baker Hughes Incorporated, rose by 2 this week to 600, after falling to a 10-year low of 598 last week. After increasing modestly to 936 active rigs in the fall of 2011, the natural gas rig count has dropped sharply. The oil rig count, currently at 1,382, has generally risen steadily since 2009, largely in response to increasing crude oil prices.
Natural gas rigs are currently down about 31 percent from their level at the same time last year, while oil rigs have risen by 45 percent over the same period. However, increased productivity from shale gas formations (generated by horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing) and rising associated production from expanding oil-directed development activity have helped maintain robust natural gas production.
Overview: (For the Week Ending Wednesday, May 23, 2012)•Natural gas prices, led by the futures market, advanced modestly in nearly all markets over the week. At the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), the June 2012 natural gas contract ended the week up 11.9 cents per million British thermal units (MMBtu) to close at $2.737 per MMBtu on May 23. •The Henry Hub price followed the NYMEX lead, closing at $2.60 per MMBtu on May 23, up 10 cents per MMBtu for the week. •Working natural gas in storage rose last week to 2,744 billion cubic feet (Bcf) as of Friday, May 18, according to EIA’s Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report (WNGSR). An implied storage build of 77 Bcf for the week positioned storage volumes 750 Bcf above year-ago levels. •The natural gas rotary rig count, as reported by Baker Hughes Incorporated on May 18, rebounded by 2 to 600 active units. Meanwhile, oil-directed rigs increased by 10 to 1,382 units.
more summary data
Prices: At the NYMEX, the June 2012 contract increased from $2.618 per MMBtu last Wednesday to $2.737 per MMBtu yesterday, an increase of 11.9 cents per MMBtu (4.5 percent) over the period. The June 2012 contract led the futures market upturn with a 4.5 percent rally on expectations that hotter weather (and greater consumption) was approaching and that weekly inventory builds seemed to be moderating compared to the five-year average. The 3-Month Strip (average of June-July-August contracts) followed suit with a 10.7 cent per MMBtu (4.0 percent) gain for the week.
Movement in the Henry Hub day-ahead price reflected a widespread increase in market prices in this week’s cash market by rising 4.0 percent, from $2.50 per MMBtu the previous Wednesday to $2.60 per MMBtu yesterday. As the Spot Prices tab on the..