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Surging Production Still in Focus as May Natural Gas Called Lower

May natural gas was set to open Monday about 2 cents lower at around $2.682, with a loose supply/demand balance overshadowing supportive forecasts for cold into mid-April.

Bespoke Weather Services said it added some gas-weighted degree days to its forecast over the weekend, although it expects conditions to trend milder to close out the month.

“Weather trends over the weekend were mixed, as initially model guidance showed significant short-term warming trends that appeared to dwarf slightly later cooling trends, though overnight guidance continued to trend colder with one last cold shot in the medium-range from April 15-17 that appears extraordinarily impressive for the time of year,” Bespoke said.

“...We see weather as not quite being able to counteract” the loose balance “for any sustained amount of time, and accordingly would look for prices to test $2.65 and $2.60-2.62 this week. There remain risks for short-term bounces off either cash strength or more bullish forecasts, with any bounce into the $2.72-2.75 area still a very strong short given current production levels.”

In its six- to 10-day outlook (April 14-18)Radiant Solutions on Monday said, “Low pressure tracking across the Midwest and East through the early half of the period leaves a round of much and strong below normal temperatures in its wake, and areas from the Midwest to the South feature colder changes when compared to both Friday and Sunday reports.”

Prior to the low, Radiant said it was calling for much above normal temperatures Saturday from the Mid-Atlantic to the Northeast, while the West should see a mix of temperatures during the period.

On the supply side, Genscape Inc. said Monday its production data shows Lower 48 natural gas output approaching the 79 Bcf/d mark.

“Production appears to have fully recovered from freeze-offs and other short-term disruptions to close in on the 79 Bcf/d mark,” Genscape told clients. “SpringRock’s daily pipe production estimated weekend production reached 78.91 Bcf/d Sunday,” with Monday’s volumes “estimated at 78.61 Bcf/d, but upward revisions are likely; during the past two weeks we have been seeing daily upward revisions, averaging 550 MMcf/d.

“...Relative to March, production is running nearly 1.1 Bcf/d higher led by 0.47 Bcf/d of growth in Texas, 0.25 Bcf/d in the Midcontinent, 0.24 Bcf/d in the Northeast, and 0.22 Bcf/d in the Rockies,” the firm said.

Technically speaking, “with the bulls holding the line just in front of the dense band of support stretching from $2.643-2.600 the case for more sideways to higher price action is still alive,” ICAP Technical Analysis analyst Brian LaRose told clients late last week. “However, I see no reason to assume anything other than a neutral stance at this time. Bulls need to better $2.746-2.753. Bears need to take out $2.643-2.600. In between, we prefer to sit on our hands.”

May crude oil was set to open about 67 cents higher at around $62.73/bbl, while May RBOB gasoline was trading about 1.22 cents higher at around $1.9669/gal.

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