Oil Prices Sink as Government Shuts Down
Yesterday, the Energy Information Administration released its weekly reports on the status of various liquid fuels in the United States, covering the week that ended September 27. The reports cover natural gas and petroleum, presenting data about the production, storage, and prices of the fuels.
Changes in the data can reflect natural variations, seasonal trends, long-term market effects, and current events in regions of the globe where liquid fuels are produced, processed, and sold. This week was highlighted by fears over a potential shutdown of the U.S. government, which it turns out were well grounded.
Working natural gas in storage — the volume readily available to the market — increased by 101 billion cubic feet in the week ended September 27 to 3,438 Bcf, according to EIA estimates. This is down by 155 Bcf from the same period last year, but within the five-year historical range. Natural gas futures are trading at just below $3.50 /mmBTU, below the $4 to $6 range within which producers can both earn a profit remain and compete with alternative fuels such as coal.