Cooler forecast trends for the eastern Lower 48 heading into Friday’s session helped push natural gas futures slightly lower in early trading. The October Nymex futures contract was trading 1.5 cents lower at $2.559/MMBtu shortly after 8:30 a.m. ET.
Maxar’s Weather Desk observed a mix of changes in its updated 11-15 day outlook Friday, including warmer trends in the Midwest and cooler trends in the East.
“This is a low-confidence period, as model agreement is very poor, with the Euro projecting coast-to-coast aboves” and the Global Forecast System showing “marginal belows across the eastern half and greater warmth in the West,” the forecaster said.
The East also saw cooler changes in the six- to 10-day period, according to Maxar.
“High pressure at the onset promotes below normal temperatures in the East, with a gradual warmup expected thereafter as the high departs,” Maxar said. “Much aboves remain favored in the Midwest, with less of a cooldown taking place in the latter part of the period. Heat remains steady in the South and Texas.”
At 8 a.m. ET, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) was tracking a tropical disturbance, dubbed “Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine,” that could reach the Florida coast by the weekend.
“On the forecast track, the system is anticipated to move across the central and northwestern Bahamas today, and along or over the east coast of Florida Saturday and Saturday night,” the NHC said. “Maximum sustained winds are near 30 mph with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and the disturbance is forecast to become a tropical depression or a tropical storm later today or Saturday.”
Meanwhile, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday reported a leaner-than-expected 78 Bcf build into U.S. natural gas stocks, compared to a 68 Bcf build recorded for the year-ago period and the five-year average 73 Bcf injection. Total Lower 48 working gas in underground storage stood at 3,019 Bcf as of Sept. 6, 393 Bcf (15.0%) more than year-ago levels but 77 Bcf (minus 2.5%) shy of the five-year average, according to EIA.
“On a weather-adjusted basis, the injection implies current oversupply of around 1 Bcf/d,” analysts at Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. (TPH) said. “The market tightened through the week as production moderated,” liquefied natural gas feed gas demand “bounced back, and sustained heat pushed power gen sequentially higher as the week progressed.
“Power generation is running nearly 10 Bcf/d above year-ago levels, as summer extends into mid-September, with forecasts showing above normal temperatures for the balance of the month,” the TPH team said.
October crude oil futures were up 18 cents to $55.27/bbl shortly after 8:30 a.m. ET, while October RBOB gasoline was trading fractionally higher at around $1.5544/gal.