For some investors natural gas remains an exciting frontier. Read on for an in-depth look at why natural gas investing can be compelling.
Natural gas is a hydrocarbon gas mixture primarily composed of methane. It should not to be confused with ethane, which is another type of odorless gas. It can be found by itself or in association with oil, and is one of the safest and most useful forms of clean energy.
Natural gas is often cooled to produce liquefied natural gas (LNG); that’s because this cooler liquid gas reduces transport risk and allows for easier storage.
The US Energy Information Administration says natural gas is the most widely used fuel for space heating in the US, and it has also started to beat out coal as the top fuel for power generation. Even so, demand for natural gas around the world can be volatile as it is very much dependent on the weather.
For some investors, natural gas investment remains an exciting frontier and a potentially lucrative portfolio addition. Read on for a more in-depth look at why natural gas investing can be compelling and for a brief overview of how to start investing in this sector.
Natural gas investing: Market outlook
As mentioned, volatility in natural gas demand often leads to big spikes and declines in natural gas prices. At the end of 2017, analysts thought a decrease in natural gas production could reduce inventories and drive up demand; other experts expected prices to remain low over the next few years.
2020 has shown that the latter camp was correct — natural gas prices remain at historic lows, with the coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc on energy commodities across the board.
Growth could be on the horizon, however, as suggested in the Global Gas Report 2020, published by the International Gas Union, BloombergNEF and Snam, an international gas infrastructure company.
The report forecasts medium-term growth stemming from “increasing cost-competitiveness and increased global access to gas.” LNG imports totaled 482 billion cubic meters in 2019, up 13 percent from 2018. In 2020, this figure is expected to drop by around 4.2 percent, but the report’s authors suggest it could quickly rebound in 2021 if the COVID-19 crisis can be contained.
In terms of demand, by 2025, India is expected to nearly double the length of its gas transmission grid, and China is projected to increase its natural gas pipeline network by about 60 percent.
As one of the largest and best-known oil- and gas-producing regions, the Middle East is crucial to watch and plays a significant role in the Organization of the Petroleum Producing Countries, better known as OPEC, which helps dictate the cost of oil and gas in the energy sector.
Of course, any number of factors could cause the natural gas sector’s outlook to change. A key part of the picture that investors will want to be aware of is US President Donald Trump’s pledge to make energy a central part of his agenda, as evidenced by the tariffs and levies he has instituted.
It’s also important for market participants to keep an eye on issues related to hydraulic fracturing. The process, also known as fracking, is used to extract shale gas deposits from the ground, and has come under fire in recent years for its environmental impact.
All of that uncertainty may be daunting, but an investor interested in the potential of natural gas investment should not necessarily be discouraged — after all, while prices for the fuel can reach incredible lows, they can also climb to incredible highs, which no doubt affects companies in the sector.
Natural gas investing: ETFs, futures and stocks
Investors who make the decision to invest in natural gas as a commodity have plenty of ways to gain exposure to the fuel. Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are one possibility, as is buying a futures contract or investing in natural gas stocks on an exchange.
According to CommodityHQ, the most popular natural gas ETFs include the United States Natural Gas Fund (ARCA:UNG) and the ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Natural Gas ETF (ARCA:BOIL). It is worth noting that some ETF investments offer exposure to both the oil and gas markets simultaneously.
Investors considering investing in natural gas futures should be aware that these contracts are very liquid, and extremely active throughout the week. Trading in natural gas futures is generally heaviest on Thursdays, when the US Department of Energy releases its weekly natural gas storage report.
Some of the top natural gas futures contracts include NG Henry Hub Natural Gas Futures, QG E-mini Natural Gas Futures and Delivered Natural Gas Futures.
Lastly, investors can opt to invest in gas companies involved in the natural gas market. As with ETFs, many companies that are exploring for or producing natural gas are also focused on oil. It is difficult to find companies that are aimed purely at natural gas.
That said, some large companies that are heavily involved in natural gas include Suncor Energy (NYSE:SU,TSX:SU) and Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN). If you are interested in other stocks, you can check out our list of the top oil and gas stocks on the TSX and TSXV here.
Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time news updates!
Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Investment approaches to continued uncertainty – Investment Executive
“The average client portfolio is riskier today than it has been historically because you’re not getting the natural diversification” that bonds provide, said panellist Luke Ellis, CEO with London, U.K.–based Man Group plc, a global investment management firm with offerings that include quantitative portfolios. As a result, asset allocation must be reconsidered, he said.
Ellis also warned of the challenge of identifying winners and losers in a world of massive government spending. The market is not efficient when fiscal policy helps support weak companies, he said.
Neil Cunningham, president and CEO with Ottawa-based PSP Investments, one of Canada’s largest pension investment managers, said PSP is reducing government bonds in portfolios in favour of emerging market debt, private credit and high inflation–linked infrastructure projects with little operating or credit risk. Adding in these assets increases risk, so the firm reduces equities to stay within risk limits, he said.
More generally, as a long-term investor, Cunningham aims to distinguish between noise and longer-term trends. The U.S. election, he said, is noise: “We’re much more concerned with the trends that get accelerated by Covid,” such as de-globalization, greater e-commerce adoption and working from home.
Cunningham also suggested investors follow the long-term trends of ESG and diversity and inclusion because governments, employees and customers will consider these factors as they legislate, work and shop.
Mohammed Alardhi, executive chairman with Manama, Bahrain–based Investcorp, a global manager of alternatives, highlighted the need to diversify within sectors and geographies, noting that investors in oil-producing regions were particularly hard hit by the pandemic.
Cunningham described investing in a U.K. pub business just months before the economic shutdown. No one expected a business that stayed open during the Blitz to close, he said. The lesson: “Unless you diversify both geographically and by sector, you’re bound to get hit by something you didn’t expect.” Unexpected downturns also require investors to ensure they have sufficient liquidity, he said.
Panellists also considered trends arising from geopolitics.
The outcome of U.S.-China tensions will be key for many portfolios over the next decade, depending on the position investors take, Ellis said.
For example, should China be a small part of a portfolio because of the country’s restrictions on foreign businesses, or should it be a large part as the eventual largest economy in the world?
As U.S.-China tensions put pressure on other governments to pick a side, investors will face an increasingly challenging environment, Ellis said.
Cunningham said his firm was increasing allocations to Australasia and emerging markets based on long-term geopolitical trends that will see those economies benefit.
The outlook for investment in Canada
Ian McKay, CEO with Ottawa-based Invest in Canada, also spoke at the session and provided a positive outlook for foreign investment in this country despite an overall negative forecast for foreign investment flows.
Global foreign direct investment (FDI) is expected to decrease by up to 40% this year and by a further 5–10% in 2021, according to the World Investment Report 2020 from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
This would bring FDI flows to “the lowest levels we’ve seen in over 20 years,” McKay said, which will motivate governments, investment funds and agencies to reassess their strategic plans and investing criteria.
As they do so, Canada is proving attractive.
Since the pandemic, Invest in Canada has experienced a spike in interest from global investors in three sectors in Canada: life sciences, associated with a vaccine for Covid-19; the digital economy, in which Canada is a leader in artificial intelligence; and clean technology, such as hydrogen or electric cars and renewable energy.
“In Canada, we have the right ingredients for that — the raw materials, highly skilled workforce, innovative ecosystems and global market access,” McKay said.
Fundamental factors also favour Canada when it comes to attracting investment, such as political and economic stability, an open mindset to free and rules-based trade, and a global supply of workforce talent, McKay said.
Despite the forecast for foreign investment flows, “we are certain that the future is bright for those investors who continue to build and expand their operations in Canada,” McKay said.
Foreign Investment Plummets During Pandemic, Except in China – The Wall Street Journal
Foreign direct investment in China largely held steady during the first half of this year, even as investment inflows into the U.S. and European Union plummeted, in a fresh sign that the world’s second-largest economy has suffered less damage from the pandemic.
Globally, the monthly average for new investments for the first half of the year was down almost half on the monthly average for the whole of 2019, the largest decline on record, the United Nations’s Conference on Trade and Development said Tuesday. But while foreign investment in the U.S. and European Union fell by 61% and 29% respectively, inflows to China were down by just 4%. China attracted foreign investment totaling $76 billion during the period, while the U.S. attracted $51 billion.
The U.S. has long been the top global destination for businesses investing overseas, while China has long ranked second.
Unctad said the modest nature of the decline in foreign investment to China was surprising. Back in March, when China was the epicenter of the pandemic with significant parts of its economy in lockdown, Unctad forecast that it would be the big loser, and expected global flows of investment to fall by 15% across 2020.
However, China’s economy reopened in April just as the U.S. and Europe were in lockdown, and the country has since contained the virus with only localized and short-lived restrictions. By contrast, the U.S. and Europe have seen resurgences in infections that have slowed their recoveries. In the three months through September, China’s economy had already exceeded the levels of output recorded in the last quarter of 2019, according to data out last week.
The resilience of foreign investment in China appears to confound earlier expectations that businesses would seek to reduce their reliance on the country as a key part of their supply chains. But James Zhan, Unctad’s director of investment and enterprise, said it was too early to reach that conclusion.
“One of the main reasons for reconfiguration of global supply chains is to increase resilience, which requires backup plans and redundant capacities,” he said. “A more practical approach companies can take would be building additional production bases outside of China, which means new investment to other countries instead of divestment from China or moving production out of China.”
Across all developed economies, inflows of foreign investment were down 75% in the first half from the 2019 monthly average to total just $98 billion, a level last seen in 1994. In some cases—such as the Netherlands and the U.K.—that decline took the form of a reduction in loans from the parent company to its overseas subsidiaries, which are counted as foreign investment.
With tensions running high, Washington and Beijing have pushed to decouple technology and trade. But American financial firms including JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs are doubling down on investing in China and expanding headcount. Photo Composite: Crystal Tai[object Object]
“In times of crisis, some multinational enterprises would like to keep funds close to home,” said Mr. Zhan. “Fear that Covid-19 and the quest for funds could lead to tax increase may also accelerate the intra-firm capital movements.”
Foreign investment in developing economies proved more resilient, falling by just 16% to $296 billion.
Unctad said there were signs of a pickup in investment during the three months through September, and it repeated its forecast that flows for 2020 as a whole would likely be 40% down on 2019. But it warned that the second wave of rising infections hitting a number of developed economies could see flows down 50% for the year.
While foreign investment in most countries fell during the first six months, a small number saw an increase. One was Germany, which saw inflows rise 15% to $21 billion, largely due to a small number of foreign acquisitions of existing businesses.
Write to Paul Hannon at email@example.com
Green Power to Draw $11 Trillion Investment by 2050, BNEF Says – BNN
Green power is set to draw around $11 trillion of investment in the coming decades as the cost of renewables plummets and more of the world’s energy comes from electricity.
That’s the latest analysis from BloombergNEF in its annual New Energy Outlook report. It’s further evidence of how cheap renewable power sources will continue to push aside fossil fuels in the energy mix.
Despite the massive sum, BNEF said the pace of building out new renewables will need to increase further to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.
The projected increases in renewable energy and battery technology — wind and solar will grow to 56% of global electricity in 2050 — are set to cause emissions to peak in 2027 and then fall 0.7% annually until 2050, BNEF said.
That would lead to a warming of 3.3 degrees Celsius by 2100, well short of the 6% annual emissions reduction needed to keep warming below 2 degrees and the 10% reduction required to achieve 1.5 degrees of warming.
Below are four key takeaways from this year’s report:
The only fossil fuel to increase its share of demand over the coming years will be gas. That’s largely driven by its use in heavy industry and to heat buildings. A key reason for the growth of gas to warm buildings is the weak economic argument for using heat pumps. BNEF doesn’t see cost parity with gas boilers until 2040. In the U.S., an abundance of cheap gas will delay the energy transition, but renewable power will still overtake the fuel by 2041.
The future of oil demand will be shaped by the uptake of electric vehicles. BNEF sees primary oil consumption peaking in 2035 and then gradually declining.
Meanwhile, the thirst for oil in road transport tops out in 2031, according to BNEF. The fall will be sped up by EVs reaching price parity with traditional engines before 2025, at which point people will start buying plug-in cars at a faster rate, offsetting oil’s growth from aviation, shipping and petrochemicals
. By 2050, some 65% of all passenger-vehicle kilometers will be made in electric vehicles. The current fleet of EVs is displacing 1 million barrels of oil a day.
Governments, energy companies and lobbyists have been touting hydrogen as a way to decarbonize vast swathes of the world’s economy.
If that is realized with hydrogen made by machines powered by renewable energy, the world will need a lot more of it. For so-called green hydrogen to provide just under a quarter of energy in 2050, it would require 38% more power than is currently produced globally. Making all that hydrogen with wind and solar farms would require a land area the size of India.
Air travel will continue to be one of the most difficult sectors to decarbonize. Aviation emissions are up 80% since 1990 and they’ll double again by 2050. It’s one of the few sectors, along with shipping, that struggles to electrify. Heavy planes and ships that need to travel long distances would require batteries to significantly improve in order to make them commercially viable for the sector. Sustainable fuel alternatives and ammonia would need more government support than currently expected to make them cost competitive with fossil fuels in the coming decades.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Score Media and Gaming Inc. Virtually Opens The Market – Canada NewsWire
COVID-19: New rules mandate medical masks for some spa, salon staff – London Free Press (Blogs)
'One of the rarest species of shark in the world' captured in amazing video – CNET
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Galaxy M31 July 2020 security update brings Glance, a content-driven lockscreen wallpaper service
- Sports19 hours ago
Edmonton Oilers dressing room icon Joey Moss dies
- Tech16 hours ago
iPhone 12 can act as 5GHz Wi-Fi hotspot, boon for 5G
- Health17 hours ago
Record 1440 new COVID cases in Alberta this weekend
- Art16 hours ago
Southern Alberta Art Gallery Is Honoured With A Blackfoot Naming Ceremony
- Health24 hours ago
Exclusive: Montreal to convert downtown hotel to 380-bed homeless shelter for COVID-19 winter – CTV News Montreal
- Politics17 hours ago
Latin American Politics
- Tech9 hours ago
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 review: the 1440p sweet spot – The Verge
- Tech19 hours ago
Five iPhone 12 features you won't find on any Android phones (and one Apple is missing!) – Daily Express