November natural gas futures were trading 5.7 cents higher at $3.324/MMBtu shortly before 9 a.m. ET Tuesday, building on the prior session’s gains as forecasters pointed to further cold trends in the outlook overnight.
Weather models overnight continued the colder trends that showed up in Monday’s forecast, advertising another shot of cold air arriving across the eastern third of the country in Week 2 of the outlook, according to Bespoke Weather Services.
“There still are little to no indications of the pattern breaking down in the long-range, as climate guidance shows it will take until either later Week 3 or potentially into Week 4 before nationwide warmth returns,” Bespoke said. “We do expect this to take place; this pattern is unsustainable into November, and we do not expect it to lock in as the dominant pattern for the start of winter. However, it can linger for least the next couple of weeks” and produce above average gas-weighted degree days.
“It’s a perfect storm for natural gas today, as nuclear outages have increased markedly again, further tightening power burns as colder weather spooks a market already low in storage,” Bespoke said. “The result is again the potential for the front of the strip to blow out in the short-term until a reversal is shown in the weather pattern...Through the week we could see room all the way up to $3.50 if the weather pattern does not reverse by Friday, and it is showing signs that any reversal could wait until next week.”
Meanwhile, as of 8 a.m. ET Hurricane Michael was about 395 miles south of Panama City, FL, traveling north-northwest at 12 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. The Category 2 storm is projected to make landfall with the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area Wednesday, bringing heavy rainfall, hurricane force winds and life threatening storm surge.
After BP plc said Monday it was in the process of evacuating personnel and shutting in production from four operated platforms in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), Genscape Inc.’s GOM production estimate Tuesday was down to 1,695 MMcf/d, more than 1 MMcf/d below the prior 14-day average.
On the demand side, Genscape analysts Nicole McMurrer and Margaret Jones said Michael is expected to have less impact than last year’s Hurricane Irma since “Michael is a relatively compact system that should miss the largest demand areas in Florida.
“In contrast, total power demand destruction during Irma was approximately 10 Bcf over a seven-day period,” McMurrer and Jones said. “Power demand fell by around 2.5 Bcf/d from peak-to-trough in the U.S. Southeast region (mostly in Florida). On Sept. 11, 2017, 6.1 million customers in Florida were without power (56% of the state), which fell to 2.6 million by Sept. 15, 2017.
“Although Michael is likely to bring power outages, they are unlikely to have the widespread impact of outages during Irma since more of the impacts will be on the lower population density Panhandle rather than the peninsula.”
As of around 8:30 a.m. ET Tuesday, November crude oil futures were trading 45 cents higher at $74.74/bbl, while November RBOB gasoline was trading fractionally lower at $2.0881/gal.