Email of the day
Comment of the Day

June 01 2012

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day

on USA natural gas exports:
“See below. I would have thought the primary impediment to U.S. natural gas exports to be an incomplete U.S. LNG export terminal structure. Seeing politics enter as a consideration doesn't strike me as a good thing. Do you believe the Obama administration would prefer to see U.S. supplies high and prices low at the expense of a trade balance benefit?

“U.S. natural gas exports are on hold.”The Obama administration is telling Japan and other allied countries they will have to wait before moving forward on plans to buy American natural gas, people involved in the talks said. A dramatic increase in U.S. natural-gas production has led several U.S. companies, including Sempra Energy and Dominion Resources Inc., to seek permits from the Department of Energy to export gas to countries that lack free-trade agreements with the U.S. Exxon Mobil Corp. Chief Executive Rex Tillerson said Wednesday his company was looking at exporting from the U.S. Gulf Coast and Canada. Sempra and Dominion are working with Japanese partners that want to import the gas as their country looks for new power sources...But the U.S. has told Japan, a leading military ally in the Pacific, it will have to wait, in large part because of the political sensitivities, participants in the talks said." Tennille Tracy in The Wall Street Journal"

Eoin Treacy's view My comment – Thank you for this informative email which is sure to be of interest to the Collective. In an election year where the support of the green lobby is likely to be of primary concern for President Obama's campaign he will have to walk a fine line between doing what is best to ameliorate the country's yawning trade deficit and pacifying his support base. The Keystone Pipeline has been a rallying point for those opposed to the bi-polar nature of the current administration's energy policy. This delay tactic in developing the USA's natural gas export capacity is likely to prove a fertile ground for those seeking to criticise the administration.

This article from Bloomberg confirms that Cheniere Energy is still the only company to have had an export terminal approved. To the best of my knowledge, this has not been affected by the change of policy. The share has returned to test the 200-day MA and the upper side of the underlying trading range. A sustained move below $12 would be required to question medium-term scope for additional upside.

Sempra Energy has been a clear absolute and relative outperformer. It is currently somewhat overextended relative to the 200-day MA as it tests its 2008 highs. There is currently some scope for a reversion towards the mean but a sustained move below $60 would be required to question medium-term upside potential.

Dominion Energy yields 4.05% and has held a progression of higher reaction lows since early 2009, finding support in the region of the 200-day MA on successive occasions. It has lost momentum somewhat over the last few months but a sustained move below $50 would be required to question medium-term upside potential.

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