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Production Offsetting Medium-Range Heat as September Natural Gas Called Lower

September natural gas futures were set to open Monday about 1.8 cents lower at around $2.928/MMBtu despite supportive medium-range heat as weekend production gains put pressure on prices, according to analysts.

Forecasts over the weekend trended “decently more supportive” and continued to show strong cooling demand over the last several days of August, according to Bespoke Weather Services.

“Into the long-range we are beginning to see some signals of the heat easing as broad ridging across the East should propagate westward and allow some cooler weather to spread back in, but this comes after at least a week of cooling demand near or at record levels for the time of year,” Bespoke said.

The firm attributed the morning selling on the front month to production that “surged over the weekend, loosening the market further after we already saw gradual loosening last week” and an Energy Information Administration (EIA) storage report “that began to confirm a looser market...

“We would watch for some more cash support as prices may try and defend $2.90 with significant medium-term heat expected,” Bespoke said. “Any bounces likely fail with production elevated, though for prices to truly break down EIA data may need to confirm further loosening as well.”

EBW Analytics Group CEO Andy Weissman similarly observed cooler near-term forecast trends over the weekend, with the medium range adding even more cooling demand.

If the forecasts continue to add cooling degree days “in late August and early September, the September contract could once again test resistance at the upper end of its recent trading range,” Weissman said. “Resistance is likely to continue to hold, however, below $3.00.”

Radiant Solutions noted hotter changes focused in the Midwest in its latest six- to 10-day forecast (Aug. 25-29).

“An increase in pattern amplification lends a mix of changes in this period, as a deeper trough further dives into the West, leaving that region cooler while enhancing heat downstream,” Radiant said. “Temperatures are expected to be in the much above normal category for most days in the Midwest, including peaks in the low to mid 90s for a large portion of the region.

“Much aboves also expand toward the East at times, and peaks in the low 90s are forecast in the Mid-Atlantic.”

In the 11-15 day outlook (Aug. 30-Sept. 3), the eastern two-thirds of the country trended hotter compared to both Friday and Sunday forecasts, according to the firm.

“Above normal temperatures are expected to be widespread in coverage, including areas from the Rockies toward the East Coast,” Radiant said. “Near normal temperatures are forecast along the West and Gulf Coasts.”

September crude oil was set to open about 18 cents lower at around $65.73/bbl, while September RBOB gasoline was trading fractionally higher at around $1.9894/gal.

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