Freeport LNG, a major liquefied natural gas exporter in Texas, rejected claims made on social media last Friday that its terminal would be closed for an extended period.
US natural gas futures plunged as much as 7.4% on Friday as someone operating a Twitter account, identifying as a trader, said "cracked pipes" were discovered at the terminal, potentially delaying the company's plans to restart exports by mid-month. The tweet was immediately deleted.
"That speculation ratcheted up sharply Friday morning, when a Twitter account, @Lithium_Plays, made several unconfirmed statements regarding Freeport that were widely shared by other Twitter accounts, including a top, so-called energy Twitter influencer, an oil analyst for a major international bank whose account has 64,000 followers. But those tweets by @Lithium_Plays were then quickly deleted.
Shortly thereafter, another account, @rr9b250, Tweeted a screenshot that seemed to look like it came directly from Freeport LNG, as it was on Freeport LNG letterhead with the same logo colors that one sees on Freeport's official website. The statement ended with "Sincerely, Freeport LNG Public Relations."" --Market Watch
After US NatGas futures settled, Freeport released a statement Friday evening, rejecting such claims calling it fake news:
"Any Tweets and/or posts on Freeport LNG branded letterhead that may have been obtained or published, are reporting false information and are not legitimate, official public information from Freeport LNG," the company said in a statement.
On Monday morning, US natural gas futures jumped more than 5.5% to as high as $6.25/mmbtu on Freeport dismissing reopening claims.
The Texas terminal has been shuttered since June due to an explosion, with a reopening timeframe around mid-November. Any such reopening would boost NatGas prices because the liquefaction plant serves as a major export facility, serving European customers.
It seems like traders have an issue verifying market-sensitive information on social media...