Natural gas consumption in the United States (including exports to Mexico) exceeded 100 Bcf per day for the ten-day period January 3, 2010 through January 12, according to Bentek Energy, LLC. It is not uncommon for daily peaks to reach 100 Bcf or more, however, it is unusual that it they would last for ten consecutive days and that they would occur relatively early in the heating season.
The positive working gas balance compared to recent years has disappeared but inventories remain near normal even with the early heating season cold. And still natural gas market acquisition prices (cash and futures) remain in the $5.00 to $6.00 range for the balance of the winter – a continued testament to supply optimism for the coming year.
What are the questions ahead: Will large volume industrial use of natural gas rebound in 2010? Will gas continue to take historical market share from coal in electricity generation? What volume of gas will be required to refill underground storage during the coming net injection season? With a gradually rising national rig count and supportive pricing cause domestic production to remain firm or even grow as it has for the past three years?
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