SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of – The prices of oil and natural gas extended gains Thursday in Asia as a winter storm that slammed the U.S. and slower-than-expected supply growth raised expectations for higher energy demand.
Benchmark U.S. crude for March delivery was up 23 cents to $97.61 a barrel at 0745 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added 19 cents to close at $97.38 on Wednesday.
More than a million homes and businesses were left in darkness and cold on Wednesday in the U.S. Northeast after snow, sleet and freezing rain hit the region. Some states saw around a foot of snow.
In Alberta, the market was extremely volatile Wednesday, with some traders paying as much as $38/GJ at the AECO hub. Huge spikes like this are short-lived, but demonstrate how volatile the market can become.
The near-month AECO contract closed at $5.29. The AECO 12 month strip rose to a modest $4.67/mcf and the 2015 strip price sites at $4.03/mcf.
Earlier in New York, natural gas rocketed to a new four-year high before falling back as cold temperatures were expected to increase demand for heating fuels.
A report from the Energy Department showed that supplies of crude oil rose much less than analysts expected last week, adding upward pressure to oil prices.
Brent crude, a benchmark for oil sold internationally, was up 12 cents at $106.37 on the ICE exchange in London.