Natural Gas Rises to 9 Day High as Storm Crosses U.S. Midwest


Natural gas rose to a nine-day high as a storm that dropped snow across the U.S. Midwest headed for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, boosting demand for the fuel at a time when stockpiles are at a 10-year seasonal low.

Prices climbed as much as 4.9 percent. A winter storm passing that may drop as many as 6 inches of snow on Chicago and Pittsburgh will reach the eastern U.S. tomorrow, and National Weather Service said today. New York may get 1 to 2 inches before the storm switches over to rain, while Boston may receive 1 to 3 inches.

Futures for March delivery rose 23.7 cents, or 4.5 percent, to $5.451 per million British thermal units at the 1:15 p.m. close of electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Volume was 80 percent below the 100-day average. Prices are up 29 percent this year.

Floor trading in New York was closed today for the U.S. Presidents Day holiday. Electronic transactions will be booked tomorrow.

Stockpiles of the heating fuel declined for a 13th week to 1.686 trillion cubic feet in the seven days ended Feb. 7, the lowest for the time of year since 2004, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Supplies will drop to 1.33 trillion cubic feet by the end of March, when the heating season draws to a close, the EIA said Feb. 11. About 49 percent of U.S. households use gas for heating, according to the Energy Department’s statistical arm.

Gas Outages

Enbridge Inc. declared a force majeure at the Cleopatra Ship Shoal 207 receipt point on its Nautilus gas pipeline, effective for the evening cycle of Feb. 17 until further notice, the company said in a notice to shippers yesterday. Constraints are due to an outage at Neptune gas plant in Louisiana, which can process 650 million cubic feet a day.

Kinder Morgan Inc. (KMI) extended operational flow orders on its Horizon and Natural gas pipelines due to the current forecasts for continued cold weather, the company said today.