June natural gas is expected to open 4 cents higher Thursday morning at $3.33 as traders anticipate government inventory figures less than historical norms. Overnight oil markets rose.
Overnight weather models turned warmer. MDA Weather Services in its morning 11- to 15-day outlook said "Coming out of the warmer 6-10 day period, this period likewise features warmer adjustments and focused from the Midwest to the East in the early half. Above normal temperatures remain the favored solution along the southern tier and the East Coast, with much aboves preceding a storm system in the East in the early half.
"This broad warm look to the pattern is supported by the longer term +AMO [Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation] signal but also with negative trends in the PNA [Pacific North American Index] and +SOI [Southern Oscillation Index]. There remains uncertainty within the details of this warm regime, most notably along the northern tier between the American and European models.
Traders will be looking for a storage build in Thursday's EIA storage report well below historical norms, though some are hedging their bets. Last year 58 Bcf was injected and the five-year average stands at a stout 73 Bcf.
Tradition Energy is looking for a 55 Bcf increase and a Reuters survey of 23 traders and analysts showed a sample mean of 53 Bcf with a range of +49 Bcf to +65 Bcf.
The Desk in its Weekly Gas Storage Tealeaves report revealed a 54 Bcf injection average from a sample of 33 traders. "We don't anticipate a surprise report this week, though as with last week [67 Bcf], the potential for a build on the high side of expectations is likely," said John Sodergreen, editor.
Next week's storage figures may be on the lean side as well. The National Weather Service (NWS) forecasts above normal heating loads for Midwest and eastern energy markets. For the week ended May 13 NWS sees New England at 86 heating degree days (HDD0 or 13 above normal. The Mid-Atlantic is expected to see 86 HDDs also or 26 above normal. The greater Midwest from Ohio to Wisconsin is predicted to experience 79 HDDs or 14 more than its normal seasonal tally.
In overnight Globex trading June crude oil rose 41 cents to $47.74/bbl and June RBOB gasoline gained a penny to $1.5523/gallon.