US natural gas futures rise to the highest levels since January as cooler weather across the Lower 48 and shut-in production at a major gas field in Israel sparks supply fears. Prices settled at $3.376/mmbtu Monday on Nymex.
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The war between Israel and the militant group Hamas enters its third day, with the death toll now at 1,100 - at least 700 in Israel and 424 in Gaza. As cited by The Wall Street Journal, a Hamas spokesman mentioned their surprise weekend assaults on Israel had Iran's backing. Meanwhile, the Biden administration's support of Iran, the world's worst state sponsor of terrorism, has drawn tremendous criticism and is horrible optics ahead of the 2024 presidential election cycle.
Focusing on energy markets, Israel ordered the shutdown of the Chevron-operated Tamar gas field in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Israel for fear Hamas rockets could strike offshore gas installations.
"Chevron Mediterranean Limited was instructed by Israel's Ministry of Energy to shut in production at the Tamar Production Platform," the company said in a statement, first cited by Reuters.
At the moment, NatGas is still flowing to customers in Israel and the region from the Leviathan platform, Chevron told Bloomberg in a statement, adding, "Our top priority is the safety of our personnel, the communities in which we operate, the environment and our facilities."
Tamar is located in Israel's exclusive economic zone, about 50 miles west of Haifa in waters. It produces about 7.1 million to 8.5 million cubic meters a day NatGas.
At the time of discovery (2009), Tamar was the largest find of NatGas in the Levant basin of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, which makes it a prime-time target for Hamas.
Chevron owns 25% of the Tamar, while Isramco holds 28.75%, the UAE's Mubadala Petroleum 22%, Tamar Petrole 16.75%, Dor Gas 4% and Everest 3.5%.
"Tamar's stoppage may result in lower onward shipments or even delays after Egypt planned to resume liquefied natural gas exports this month just ahead of the European winter," Bloomberg said.
Gas prices in Europe were up 11%, and in the US, prices were up 1%.
The last thing the world needs is another blown-up NatGas pipeline ahead of the Northern Hemisphere winter.