Natural Gas Intelligence
Prices Still In a 'Bear Cave,' Yet Struggle Higher

Thursday, December 22, 2011

January natural gas managed a small gain Wednesday as traders saw an ongoing tussle between algorithmic traders taking profits on short positions matched up against a cadre of willing sellers. At the close January natural gas had risen 2.7 cents to $3.155 and February had gained 2.8 cents to $3.198. February crude oil gained $1.43 to $98.67/bbl.

Bentek said it "considers the 101 Bcf withdrawal to have equal risk to the upside and downside this week." Withdrawals in the East region increased from last week at the premium Northeast facilities, while decreasing in the Midcontinent. Bentek's sample in the East region is concentrated in the premium Northeast; therefore, the increased withdrawals in that market may result in an overestimation of withdrawals for the entire region.

"In the Producing Region the sample of salt dome facilities lowered withdrawals by just under 1 Bcf for the week. Less flexible depleted fields decreased withdrawals by almost 3 Bcf. The larger drop in the depleted fields may result in an underestimation of withdrawals in the Producing Region." Bentek admits that the "large differences in the regional samples from last week has resulted in uncertainty both to the high and low sides of the estimate."

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