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December NatGas Called Higher on Long-Range Cold Following Steep Drop

December natural gas was set to open about a dime higher at around $2.92 Monday, with the market eyeing long-range cold after a large drop Friday to price in some above-normal temperatures in the shorter-term.

Futures looked to bounce back in early Monday trading after above-normal temperatures in the near-term drove a sharp drop in the soon-to-expire December contract Friday. The December contract settled at $2.813 Friday, tumbling 15.5 cents from Wednesday's settle.

NatGasWeather.com said the drop was "primarily due to weather forecasts through Dec. 6 being much warmer than normal. However, we went into the weekend break cautioning of colder risks for the second week of December, which in fact occurred, as all of the major models trended notably colder, favoring a series of winter-like weather systems with sub-freezing temperatures sweeping out of Canada to cover large stretches over the country, including deep into Texas and the South."

Similarly, Bespoke Weather Services counted a “significant number" of gas-weighted degree day (GWDD) additions over the weekend for the long-range forecast.

"We still expect GWDDs below average over the next 15 days, but warmth is now primarily in the short-term, as we expect now" to add GWDDs throughout the week "with high confidence in medium and long-range bullish risk now on weather guidance," Bespoke said.

Meanwhile, the data for residential/commercial (res/com) demand month-to-date could bode well for the rest of winter, according to PointLogic Energy Vice President Jack Weixel. Through the first 27 days of November, res/com demand has averaged "a stout 26.2 Bcf/d, a full 4.6 Bcf/d greater than the average for November 2016. The daily average is coming in 1.2 Bcf/d greater than PointLogic's eight-year population-weighted normal of 25.2 Bcf/d."

PointLogic’s forecasts have full-month demand averaging 26.1 Bcf/d.

Earlier this month, PointLogic weather data provider Statweather's 90-day forecast predicted that res/com demand through the end of January “would run about 1.8 Bcf/d higher than normal population-weighted weather used in our two season balanced natural gas forecast," Weixel said. "If November to-date observations are any indication of a future trend, res/com demand could move the needle on the supply/demand balance for winter 2017/2018."

January crude oil was set to open about 63 cents lower Monday at around $58.32/bbl, while December RBOB Gasoline was down fractionally at around $1.7864/gal.

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