Oil prices could be coming down, and natural gas prices could be rising. That is the conclusion of a recent article on energy prices featured on SeekingAlpha.com.
The article examines trends in U.S. fuel storage and finds that an oversupply of oil is developing, while natural gas supplies could come up short this year. Natural gas in storage in the U.S. in mid-April was at 50 percent below last year’s mid-April storage, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
“Gas supplies are coming off an 11-year low reached this winter. And it's not just the East region; storage levels are more than 50 percent lower in all monitored regions except the West (-44%),” the article states. “Storage levels for all three regions remain below their year-ago, 5-year average levels, and their 5-year minimums. Not surprisingly, we saw a strong move in natural gas prices. Nat gas prices jumped higher and ended up over 4.5% on the day of the report.”
At the same time, natural gas production is actually diminishing in many areas, and private equity firms are snapping up natural gas assets, the article states. “With hydro-electric generation expected to be down significantly in the Western U.S. due to drought conditions, and nat gas storage at levels merely half of last year at this time, it would appear all we need is a nice hot summer and it may be very difficult to replenish natural gas storage levels by next fall without a significant rise in price to spur additional dry gas drilling. And of course the 1,000-pound gorilla in the room is looming [liquefied natural gas] exports which will start-up in late 2015 at the Cheniere Energy (LNG) Sabine Pass terminal in Cameron Parish, Louisiana.”
As the natural gas supplies are dwindling, oil supplies are going in the opposite direction, hitting an all-time as of April 11. Barring unforeseen developments, U.S. oil prices might well fall to under $90 per barrel, the article states.
To read the Seeking Alpha article, click here.