More volatility is the story for natural gas report week, October 7, 2021. Although week-over-week prices show a modest loss of the prior week’s price spikes, that’s only part of the picture. On Tuesday, prices hit a 13-year high with the prompt month closing the day at $6.312/Dth and upcoming winter months all breaking $6.400. In contrast, price movement for CY22 and CY23 was more limited.
Even though production remained flat over last week and demand slightly increased, this week’s injection into storage at 118 Bcf outpaced last year’s (75 Bcf) and the five-year average (81 Bcf). It also exceeded analysts’ estimates which averaged 110 Bcf. All in all, not a bad week for storage.
More significantly, with mild weather expected through the end of October, it is likely the gap between the end-of-season storage total and the five-year average will all but be erased. As such, it affirms the prices we are seeing now, even after this week’s slight retreat, are not the immediate result of winter supply anxiety.
From Russia, With Love
The more logical explanation is that domestic natural gas prices were moving in tandem with skyrocketing international prices. Driven by low storage levels and supply concerns in advance of winter heating season, European prices in particular set new records. Yet by Wednesday, following Russian promises for added supply, prices across Europe and at home eased. Evident in the modest U.S. price retreat, there’s some concern Russian capacity for increased production is limited. With European storage at a decade-low, whether Russia can – or will – rise to the occasion may impact prices for the upcoming winter.
DEC21, settled at $5.817/Dth, down 17.4 cents
JAN22, settled at $5.910/Dth, down 16.3 cents
FEB22, settled at $5.806/Dth, down 14.5 cents
MAR22, settled at $5.457/Dth down 6.0 cents
APR22, settled at $3.986/Dth down a penny
Settled Thursday at $5.677/Dth up less than a penny from Wednesday’s close at $5.675/Dth. Down 19.0 cents, week-over-week.
12 Month Strip
Settled Thursday at $4.667/Dth, down 5.6 cents from the prior week.
The winter strip (NOV21-MAR22) settled Thursday at $5.733/Dth, down 14.7 cents from the week prior. The summer strip (APR22-OCT22) settled Thursday at $3.905/Dth, up less than a penny from the week prior.
Calendar Years 2022/2023
CY22 settled Thursday at $4.390/Dth, down 2.2 cents from the prior week. CY23 settled Thursday at $3.473/Dth, up less than a penny from the prior week.