Posted on 04/23/2012
According to data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), 27% of the Electricity generated in the US claimed Natural Gas as its source. If this monthly contribution from Natural Gas is indicative of the rest of 2012, it represents a continued stab at waning market share of Coal as a fuel source in the US. In 1998 Coal was the source for 52% of the US electricity generation, while Natural Gas accounted for 15%. By January 2012 that gap has narrowed to 38% and 27%; respectively. Of course, even as this source of demand for Natural Gas has expanded, the availability of Natural Gas supply has kept prices generally in check so far. Recently, for instance Natural Gas spot markets fell below $2/MBtu for the first time in 13 years, even as US Natural Gas Output hit new all-time highs.
Time will tell who the major winners and losers of this trend become, but we all know to the "winners" to this point have certainly not been the owners of stocks such as Chesapeake Energy Corp (CHK) or futures-based funds like the US Natural Gas Fund (UNG), both of which continue to trade around multi-year lows. To find more long or short ideas within the natural gas and coal space, a great place to start searching is through the AllETF site. Simply type in the key word in the search box in the upper right hand corner, and the system will look for ETFs that contain the word in either their title or description.