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Can Warren Buffett Save Natural Gas?

07/07/2020 6:06 am EST


Phil Flynn

Senior Energy Analyst, The PRICE Futures Group

The Oracle of Omaha is getting into the energy market, reports Phil Flynn.

Warren Buffet says to buy when there is blood on the streets and there is blood on the streets in the global natural gas market. Well, Warren Buffet and Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) spent 4 billion dollars and assumed 10 billion in debt to buy Dominion Energy Inc. The purchase came right after Dominion, and its partner Duke Energy (DUK), canceled the Atlantic Coast Pipeline that was a planned natural gas pipeline slated to run 600 miles from West Virginia, through Virginia, to eastern North Carolina.

The goal was to power out the country with cheaper and cleaner natural gas but was stymied at every turn by lawsuits. Even a big win in the Supreme Court was not enough as more lawsuits continued to pop up. Dominion and Duke said in a joint statement, “This announcement reflects the increasing legal uncertainty that overhangs large-scale energy and industrial infrastructure development in the United States. Until these issues are resolved, the ability to satisfy the country’s energy needs will be significantly challenged.” In the meantime, Dominion stock is up over 6% on the news that Buffet now owns it. Now the question becomes how long before the lights start going off for seven million customers in 20 states.

In the meantime, oil prices are stable as demand continues to rise and U.S. oil production continues to tumble. Bloomberg is reporting that, “Saudi Aramco lifted the official selling price for flagship Arab Light crude to customers in Asia, its biggest market, for a third straight month, in a sign that demand for oil is strong, though by less than traders expected. The grade will sell in Asia at $1.20 a barrel above the Middle East benchmark, compared with a 20¢ premium for July, the company said in a statement.

The Wall Street Journal is confirming what we have been saying about the historic collapse in crude oil production. The Wall Street Journal reports that, “U.S. crude supply is falling at its quickest pace ever, easing a global oil glut and spurring a swift recovery in fuel prices.” Weekly U.S. output recently fell to 10.5 million barrels a day, down from a near-record of 13 million barrels a day from late March, government data show. With companies from Chevron Corp. (CVX) to Continental Resources Inc. shutting in productive wells in response to the coronavirus, the slide marks the most significant 11-week drop on record in figures going back to 1983. In percentage terms, the decline is the biggest since the 2008 financial crisis, when U.S. oil output was less than half of what it is now.”

Gasoline prices held steady, unusual for a unique Fourth of July Holiday weekend. Social distancing and less travel is keeping demand for gas subdued but the trend is still higher. Weak refining margins and rising demand should support RBOB futures this week. Oil is consolidating and a strong stock market in China bode well for oil demand. Signs that Gulf Coast supplies in the U.S. are falling is giving oil a bit of a floor as well.

Trade strategy may be key to ride out the crazy moves that will come with the headlines so keep in touch with our daily analysis. Makes sure you are getting my Daily Trade Levels! Read Phil’s energy report at Price Futures Group. Twitter: @energyphilflynn | Facebook: Phil Flynn. Not a Subscriber but want to be? Here! I will be a speaker at the Money Show in Las Vegas! I look forward to seeing you there.

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