Natural gas advances on outlook for cooler late December

Total Purchases

Total’s North American subsidiary will buy about 2 million metric tons a year of the 4.5 million metric tons of capacity from Train Five at the proposed export facility, Cheniere said in a statement today. Deliveries from Train Five are expected to begin as soon as 2018.

The U.S. raised its forecast for natural gas output in 2012 by 0.6 percent in a report Dec. 11 and boosted its outlook for prices.

Marketed gas production will average 69.22 billion cubic feet a day this year, up from 68.84 billion estimated in November, the Energy Department said in its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook. Output may rise 0.5 percent in 2013 to 69.59 billion a day, department estimates show.

Gas prices at the benchmark Henry Hub in Erath, Louisiana, will average $2.78 per million British thermal units, compared with the previous estimate of $2.77, according to the report from the department’s Energy Information Administration.

The boom in oil and natural gas production helped the U.S. cut its reliance on imported fuel. America met 83 percent of its energy needs in the first eight months of the year, department data show. If the trend goes on through 2012, it will be the highest level of self-sufficiency since 1991.

The number of rigs drilling for gas in the U.S. slipped by one to 416 last week, according to data from Baker Hughes Inc. in Houston. The rig count is down 49 percent this year.

Bloomberg News

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