Natural Gas Rig Count Almost Flat Last Week: Why?



Natural gas rig count 

Baker Hughes (BHI) releases its weekly natural gas rig count report every Friday. It issued its latest weekly natural gas rig count report on February 26. The US natural gas rig count fell by one rig to 100 for the week ended February 26. The US natural gas rig count rose marginally for the first time in the last 12 weeks. In 2016, the US natural gas rig count had fallen by 60 due to long-term lower natural gas prices. The fall in natural gas prices affects oil drillers like Pacific Drilling (PACD), Atwood Oceanics (ATW), Schlumberger (SLB), Superior Energy Services (SPN), and Halliburton (HAL).

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Crucial support 

Long-term oversupply, mild winter, record natural gas inventory, and weak demand should pressure natural gas prices. The next support level is $1.60 per MMBtu (million British thermal units). Prices hit this mark in 1995.

Natural gas price forecast 

Seaport Global Securities estimates that mild winter weather could push natural gas prices to as low as $1.50 per MMBtu in the short term. The EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration) forecasts that gas prices could average around $2.71 per MMBtu and $3.32 per MMBtu in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

The 17-year-low natural gas prices affect oil and gas producers such as Gulfport Energy (GPOR), Anadarko Petroleum (APC), Comstock Resources, and Memorial Resource Development (MRD).

ETFs and ETNs such as the Guggenheim S&P 500 Equal Weight Energy ETF (RYE), the VelocityShares 3x Long Natural Gas ETN (UGAZ), and the PowerShares DB Energy ETF (DBE) are influenced by volatility in the natural gas market.


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