Dear Valued Visitor,

We have noticed that you are using an ad blocker software.

Although advertisements on the web pages may degrade your experience, our business certainly depends on them and we can only keep providing you high-quality research based articles as long as we can display ads on our pages.

To view this article, you can disable your ad blocker and refresh this page or simply login.

We only allow registered users to use ad blockers. You can sign up for free by clicking here or you can login if you are already a member.

Ultra Petroleum Corp. (UPL): Natural Gas Prices Surging: Invest Here?

Ultra Petroleum Corp. (NYSE:UPL)Natural gas prices are trading up around 30% this month, with April futures nipping at the $4-per-million-BTU mark not seen since the end of 2011. The late winter weather helped lower the weekly storage level by 18.5% year over year, but should we expect prices to move back toward $3 per million BTU once seasonal spring weather sets in?

Not likely. With record low gas prices in 2012, natural gas producers started withdrawing capital away from drilling natural gas wells and shutting down or overhauling rigs to tackle oil liquids plays. Total natural gas land rigs have been diminishing sharply since October, with March’s total gas rig count down 34.9% year over year, according to Baker Hughes.

With both small and large gas players moving capital away from dry gas wells for the past year and a half, gas prices should increase for two reasons. The first is entry time to recommit to drilling gas wells. It takes an incredible amount time to deal with labor, rig, and lease holding contracts. According to Ultra Petroleum Corp. (NYSE:UPL) Chairman and CEO Mike Watford, once capital is removed, gas prices become sticky, since companies are hesitant to recommit money and secure new contracts and get new drilling permits until natural gas prices are high enough to support re-entry for the long term.

Second, outside the view of low-cost natural gas producers, most E&P companies are focusing production on oil plays, and with crude prices ensuring healthy profits, no incentive remains for new entrants into the U.S. natural gas market. Natural gas insiders and analysts believe prices will stabilize between $4 and $5 dollars in North America for the long term, which will supply healthy margins for low-cost natural gas producers.

In the following video, Motley Fool energy analyst Joel South speaks with Taylor Muckerman about a few of his favorite low-cost natural gas players in this space.

The article Natural Gas Prices Surging: Invest Here? originally appeared on and is written by Joel South and Taylor Muckerman.

Joel South and Taylor Muckerman have no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Range Resources and Ultra Petroleum, owns shares of Ultra Petroleum, and has options on Ultra Petroleum.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

DOWNLOAD FREE REPORT: Warren Buffett's Best Stock Picks

Let Warren Buffett, George Soros, Steve Cohen, and Daniel Loeb WORK FOR YOU.

If you want to beat the low cost index funds by 19 percentage points per year, look no further than our monthly newsletter.In this free report you can find an in-depth analysis of the performance of Warren Buffett's entire historical stock picks. We uncovered Warren Buffett's Best Stock Picks and a way to for Buffett to improve his returns by more than 4 percentage points per year.

Bonus Biotech Stock Pick: You can also find a detailed bonus biotech stock pick that we expect to return more than 50% within 12 months.
This is a FREE report from Insider Monkey. Credit Card is NOT required.