Supported by daily production data showing supply easing back after a recent growth trend, natural gas futures were steady in early Tuesday trading. At around 8:30 a.m. ET, the Nymex July futures contract was up 0.9 cents to $2.395/MMBtu.
The latest daily production estimates from Genscape Inc. showed Lower 48 dry gas output taking a step back from the growth observed last week, driven by declines in the East and Rockies regions.
“Our estimate for today’s Lower 48 production shows volumes have fallen to just under 87 Bcf/d, a nearly 1.9 Bcf/d day/day drop,” senior natural gas analyst Rick Margolin told clients Tuesday, though he cautioned that top-day nominations remain subject to “notable” revisions. “Today’s drop slams the brakes on a seven-day growth run. Prior to today’s estimate, production the past seven days had been averaging nearly 0.5 Bcf/d higher than the previous seven days.”
The production declines observed early Tuesday were focused in the East, which saw a 0.89 Bcf/d day/day drop, and in the Rockies, down 0.88 Bcf/d, according to Genscape data.
Driven by maintenance on the Tennessee Gas Pipeline system, more than half of the drop-off in the East was focused in Northeast Pennsylvania, Margolin said. In the Rockies, restrictions on the Ruby and Alliance pipelines were contributing to declines observed on both sides of the Continental Divide, he said.
Production growth, up an estimated 6.3 Bcf/d year/year for most of the second quarter, could send the market on its way to an end-October carryout of 3.75 Tcf, according to Energy Aspects.
“However, that strong output may be at risk,” according to the firm. “Sequential gains in some of the country’s largest basins have stalled this quarter. The focus for this trend has been Appalachia, where firms are targeting liquids-rich acreage amid low gas prices, and the Permian, where gas growth is constrained by a lack of pipeline capacity.
“Another basin in flux is the Haynesville Shale, where receipts peaked just below 7.0 Bcf/d in our pipeline flow sample in February but have declined by 0.1 Bcf/d month/month in every month since.”
As for the latest weather outlook, the Global Forecast System (GFS) and the European model continue to disagree, and the overnight data “further exacerbated” these differences, according to NatGasWeather. The GFS moved further in the hotter direction, while the European data came in around 4 total degree days cooler compared to 24 hours earlier.
“The European model does advertise a hotter pattern arriving next week into the start of July, just not nearly as strong with the upper ridge compared to the more intimidating GFS model,” NatGasWeather said. “The coming pattern is still hot enough to finally end bearish weather headwinds, it’s just that it would be considered solidly bullish if the GFS were to prove correct.
“But since the European model failed to trend hotter overnight, this makes today’s midday data gain of considerable interest to see if the GFS is too hot and trends cooler, or if the European model is too cool and trends hotter.”
As of 8:30 a.m. ET, July crude oil futures were up 22 cents to $52.15/bbl, while July RBOB gasoline was off fractionally to around $1.6836/gal.