Ferguson’s Froecast: Natural Gas Tops $10

By Published On: August 27, 2005

Gas prices continued their spectacular climb, jumping another 10 percent this week. Even though gas demand in September is light and prices usually lower, contracts for delivery next month closed Wednesday at $10.01/MMBtu. The average price for the next 12 months was not far behind at $9.89/MMBtu. Gas prices softened a bit Thursday after the weekly Energy Information Administration report showed 60 billion cubic feet going into storage. Apparently some speculators were caught by surprise, even though the storage increase was expected because of cooler weather. My model had forecast a slightly bigger build of 62 Bcf. Oil prices also continued to climb in record territory, gaining another $4/bbl during the week to close Thursday at around $67.50/bbl. That amounts to $1.61 per gallon of crude oil before any refining takes place! The bulls were encouraged by new storms in the Caribbean as well as the thoughtless remarks of a certain foolish evangelist advocating assassination of the Venezuelan president. Since Venezuela supplies much of our imported oil, such talk makes traders nervous. Oil prices jumped $1.50/bbl on Wednesday after his remarks made front-page news. Energy analysts are nervous, too. On the one hand, today’s inflated energy prices look like a bubble that could pop any day. On the other hand, nobody sees anything on the horizon that will bring prices down. The unanimity is unsettling-are we all missing something important? Stepping back, we see that natural gas prices have doubled in the last 12 months, and oil prices are up 60 percent. Will this be repeated in the next 12 months? Let?s see?that would put gas at $20/MMBtu and crude oil at $110/bbl. Impossible? Evidently not. Of course, I may be missing something.

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