Oil and Natural Gas Futures Diverge Under Shadow of Government Shutdown

Michael Teague |

While stocks bravely rallied in the face of the shutdown of the US government that began on Tuesday, oil and natural gas prices diverged.

West Texas Crude contracts for November delivery were down 1.10 percent to $101.20 per barrel, while the same contracts for Brent crude dipped 1.22 percent to $107.05 per barrel.

Meanwhile, natural gas contracts destined for a delivery date of November 13 were up nearly 2 percent to $3.63 per million BTUs on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Crude prices have come down as a result of several factors. Against the backdrop of the 3-year old civil war in Syria that continues to rage, US Secretary of State John Kerry met with the Iranian Foreign Minister on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York City last week, in the highest-level diplomatic contact between the two countries since the revolution of 1979.

It was a stark and sudden contrast to US threats of military strikes against Syria, a close ally of Iran, that seemed a near certainty not three weeks ago. The apparent willingness of all parties to resort to dialogue rather than increased hostilities has eased concerns of supply disruption in the region.



The recent resumption of Libyan oil production, much of which had been brought to a standstill for extended periods by the country’s many unruly revolution-era militias, has also contributed to the downward pressure on crude prices.

The current impasse in Washington, D.C. over the continued functioning of the federal government, and the expected impasse over the debt ceiling over the coming weeks has also played its part in lower oil prices.

Natural gas, on the other hand, has been the beneficiary of recent bullishness around independent producers in the US. Last week, Goldman Sachs (GS) analysts returned from a visit to the Bakken Shale, and initiated coverage on Continental Resources (CLR) and Oasis Petroleum (OAS) . Both stocks jumped in reaction to the news, and were also up on Tuesday, 3.6 and 2.4 respectively.

Goldman Analysts were particularly enthusiastic about independent gas producers operating not only in the Bakken Shale, but also in the US’s many other shale prospects such as the Marcellus that lies underneath large swathes of the Northeastern portion of the country.

[Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons]

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

Companies

Symbol Name Price Change % Volume
GS The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. 233.79 -1.96 -0.83 3,931,460
OAS Oasis Petroleum Inc. 14.73 -0.03 -0.20 3,740,252
CLR Continental Resources Inc. 51.78 0.42 0.82 486,635
GPRC Guanwei Recycling Corp 0.00 0.00 0.00 0

Comments

Emerging Growth

IBC Advanced Alloys Corp.

IBC Advanced Alloys Corp is engaged in the production and development of specialty alloy products. Its products include copper alloys and berryllium aluminium alloys.

Private Markets

Trustify

Trustify provides trust and safety in both the digital and physical worlds through our vast network of on-demand Private Investigators.By removing the large retainers and high hourly rates that traditional…

GoCoin

Blockchain currencies (e.g. Bitcoin) provide a new disruptive way to transfer value between parties over the internet as opposed to going through banks. GoCoin provides online merchants with a suite…