NATURAL GAS INVENTORY (Week Ended 12/25/15)

Current: 3,756 Bcf
Actual Injection/(Withdrawal), per EIA: (58) Bcf
Economist Average Estimate, per Bloomberg: (54) Bcf
Previous: 3,814 Bcf

Click here for the chart with five year averages.

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*Natural Gas Prices Dip After Reaching a Six Week High – Oil & Gas 360®

The timing may have taken longer than expected, but natural gas prices are finally on the rise. Spot prices for Henry Hub closed at $2.37 on December 29, 2015, marking a six week high and the third straight day of gains in excess of 5%. Henry Hub spot prices have now gained at least 5% in four of the last six sessions, and have increased by nearly 35% overall compared to prices on December 18, which were the lowest in 16 years. Some of the gains were forfeited today as prices closed below $2.20. –Read More

*Five Questions for Europe’s Gloomy Natural Gas Market in 2016 – Bloomberg

As the new year begins, Europe’s natural gas markets stand at the center of a web of geographic, financial and political factors that could reshape their future. In 2015, natural gas prices declined as the result of an oversupply made worse by the falling cost of coal, rising use of renewables, better energy efficiency and the warmest year on record. The result: benchmark contracts had their first consecutive annual loss, ending the year at their lowest levels since 2009. – Read More

*Shell producing Irish natural gas after decade of project delays – Houston Chronicle

Royal Dutch Shell has started extracting natural gas off the coast of Ireland after more than a decade of project delays and an estimated $3.1 billion in unexpected cost overruns. The Anglo-Dutch oil major on Wednesday said it aims to pump enough gas from the Corrib gas field to quench as much as 60 percent of Ireland’s demand for gas. It’s the latest move by Shell to cement its place among the world’s biggest gas suppliers, coming eight months after the company agreed to a $53 billion deal to buy British liquefied natural gas firm BG Group. – Read More

*Coal Under Fire: Clean Power Plan Begins – Oil & Gas 360®

On August 3, 2015, President Obama and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the Clean Power Plan, which is described on the EPA website as “a historic and important step in reducing carbon pollution from power plants that takes real action on climate change.” The Clean Power Plan mandates the federal government through that agency to zero in on the carbon emissions coming out of coal-fired power plants. The rule officially takes effect Dec. 22, 2015 – tomorrow. The CPP has a goal of reducing carbon emissions from U.S. electricity generators by 32% by 2030. – Read More

*Speculators pile on bearish gas bets before market’s abrupt turn – Reuters

Speculators fearing an oversupply in natural gas amid mild winter weather raised their bearish bets on the market by 30 percent last week just before prices of the heating fuel went up just as much on colder forecasts, data showed on Monday. Money managers, including hedge funds, increased their bearish bets by 29,154 contracts to reach a net short position of 123,136 in the week to Dec. 22 in the four major NYMEX and ICE gas markets, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) reported. Shorts are bets that prices will fall and longs are wagers that prices will rise. The net position squares off the two. – Read More

*Energy Companies Gird for Weaker Prices in 2016 – The Wall Street Journal

In a sign that U.S. energy producers think oil and gas prices will languish through next year, several are slashing their already slimmed-down budgets even more. Eight companies including ConocoPhillips Co. and Marathon Oil Corp. collectively will spend $21 billion less in 2016 than they did last year when oil traded over $100 a barrel. American crude has since plunged by 60% to roughly $38 a barrel. ConocoPhillips plans to cut spending next year by 55%, when compared with its 2014 budget, to $7.7 billion. Marathon’s 60% cut to a $2.2 billion budget for 2016 is even steeper. – Read More

*Energy Market Upside: For Core Laboratories Shareholders, the Returns Keep Coming – Oil & Gas 360®

Core Laboratories (ticker: CLB), a production enhancement and reservoir description company based in Houston, combines its leading services to provide consistent returns to its shareholders. Although many are taking a bearish approach into the new year, Core Lab and its management has maintained its stance on a V-shaped recovery ever since commodity prices went south. In its Q3’15 conference call, David Demshur, President and Chief Executive Officer of Core, said he expects activity could tick upwards as soon as early 2016. – Read More

*Marcellus, Utica show most growth of any shale plays in U.S. – Pittsburgh Business Times

Domestic shale’s shining star over the past four years has been the Marcellus and Utica shales, which federal data released Tuesday said was responsible for 85 percent of U.S. production growth since 2012. Natural gas production in the Marcellus Shale, which encompasses much of Pennsylvania, jumped from 6.3 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day in January 2012 to 16.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day in July 2015, according to the Drilling Productivity Report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. – Read More

*As ConocoPhillips Exits Russia, Tehran and Moscow Strengthen their Energy Ties – Oil & Gas 360®

Five years ago, U.S. oil major ConocoPhillips (ticker: COP) sold its single largest asset in Russia, a stake in Lukoil (ticker: LKOH), for $9.5 billion. Last week COP announced that it has sold its 50% stake in the Polar Lights joint venture with Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft (ticker: RNFTF), its last project in Russia. The recent sale ends ConocoPhillips’ quarter century stint in Russia. ConocoPhillips was one of the first Western companies to invest in Russia following the fall of the Soviet Union, with the registration for its Polar Lights JV made in 1992. – Read More

*Big Gain Seen for Asia, Small Loss for U.S. From LNG Exports – Bloomberg

An impending flood of U.S. shale gas into the global market stands to lower the price of the heating fuel in Asia by almost 5 percent while marginally raising costs to customers at home, a study commissioned by the U.S. Energy Department shows. Exports of 20 billion cubic feet of U.S. gas by 2040 may cut prices in the Asia-Pacific market by 73 cents per million British thermal units, while increasing U.S. prices by a mere 17 cents in the same period, according to the study authored by Oxford Economics and the Center for Energy Studies at Rice University. – Read More

*Top Energy Issues For 2015-2016: Looking Back While Going Forward – Forbes

The year 2015 will be remembered as much for its personalities as it has been for its issues. Indeed, Elon Musk and Don Blankenship dominated the energy news in spring and late fall, respectively, for very different reasons. The former is seen as an innovator while the latter is viewed as a symbol of industrial America. He is also someone whom had ultimately been convicted of misdemeanor criminal charges, all stemming from a coal mining accident that killed 29 workers. – Read More

*Beijing Turns Down the Heat As Natural Gas Demand Outpaces Supply – Oil & Gas 360®

Offices, malls, supermarkets and other buildings in Beijing have been told to lower their heat to no higher than 14 degrees Celsius (57 degrees Fahrenheit) in response to a shortage of natural gas. Fog and wind have delayed unloading tankers filled with liquefied natural gas (LNG). The conditions have left PetroChina (ticker: PTR) unable to meet the demand for natural gas, reports Bloomberg. Northern China is facing the lowest temperatures in 64 years, leading to an increase in natural gas consumption, according to China National Petroleum Corp. – Read More

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