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NatGas Cash, Futures Gain in Uninspired Trading; September Adds 2 Cents

Both physical natural gas and futures made modest advances in Tuesday trading with mostly flat to slightly higher pricing in the Midwest, Midcontinent, Texas and Louisiana boosted by a strong Northeast and California. The NGI National Spot Gas Average gained 2 cents to $2.55, and the screen wasn't far behind.

A modest cooling seen in noon weather data wasn't enough to deter buyers and at the close September had added 2.1 cents to $2.822; October was higher by 2.0 cents to $2.860. September crude oil fell 22 cents to $49.17/bbl.

Physical gas in the East posted the greatest gains as energy demand was seen increasing. ISO New England forecast Tuesday's peak load of 16,800 MW would rise to 18,600 MW Wednesday and reach 19,270 MW Thursday. The New York ISO predicted peak load Tuesday of 21,501 MW would climb to 22,368 MW Wednesday and make it to 23,350 MW Thursday.

Gas at the Algonquin Citygate gained 21 cents to $2.31 and deliveries to Tennessee Zone 6 200 L rose 19 cents to $2.22. Packages on Iroquois Zone 2 gave up most of Monday's constraint-driven advances and fell 24 cents to $2.45.

Temperatures in key Northeast markets were also forecast to climb. AccuWeather.com predicted Boston’s Tuesday high of 72 would reach 84 Wednesday and 85 Thursday, 4 degrees above normal. New York City's Tuesday high of 80 was seen inching up to 82 Wednesday and Thursday, 2 degrees above normal.

Elsewhere gains were more modest. Gas at the Chicago Citygate rose 3 cents to $2.72, and deliveries to Henry Hub were quoted 2 cents higher at $2.77. Gas on El Paso Permian changed hands a penny higher at $2.47, and deliveries to Panhandle Eastern came in flat at $2.43.

Parcels on Transwestern San Juan rose 3 cents to $2.50 and gas at Opal added 2 cents to $2.48. Deliveries to Malin gained 1 cent to $2.54. Gas at the SoCal Citygate rose 6 cents to $3.03.

In its mid-day update forecasters noted a slight cooling. "Slightly cooler trends have shown up in the most recent data and mainly due weather systems being slow to exit the central and northern U.S. this week and next," said Natgasweather.com in its mid-day report.

"It will remain very warm to hot over the western and southern U.S. going forward where highs will consistently reach the upper 80s to 100s, although there will also be areas of heavy showers and thunderstorms.  But with the central and northern U.S. experiencing a barrage of weather systems the next 10 days, national natural gas demand will remain near to only slightly stronger than normal.  It's then up to the last two weeks of August for late season summer heat to arrive, as opportunity for it will quickly wane as September progresses."

Ritterbusch and Associates is looking for a continuation of featureless futures trading. "We look for this consolidation to continue [Wednesday] with Thursday's” Energy Information Administration “storage likely to determine how this market finishes this week. The consensus of weather forecasts continues to show little change from the weekend before last when broad based cool trends slammed the market into a new and lower trading range," the firm said in closing comments to clients.

"While below normal trends are still generally expected out to about the 22nd of this month, these outlooks appear to have been priced in and either an extension or larger cool deviations will be required to push values into new low territory. But, unless some warmer trends develop within the forecasts or the EIA fails to offer a bullish storage figure, we still see downside to about the $2.65 mark where we will expect staunch support."

In its 2 p.m. EDT report the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Tropical Storm Franklin was crossing the Yucatan Peninsula and was located 40 miles east of Campeche, Mexico. Maximum sustained winds were down to 40 mph and it was moving to the west northwest at 12 mph. NHC said it expected Franklin to reemerge in the Bay of Campeche and continue west.

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