A significantly colder forecast outlook coming out of the weekend, including a large jump in expected demand after this week, had natural gas futures trading sharply higher early Monday. The December Nymex contract was up 8.7 cents to $2.801/MMBtu at around 8:30 a.m. ET.
Guidance had been mixed over the weekend, but both the American and European models “abruptly changed” over the past 24 hours to show a “much colder” outlook beyond this week for all regions of the Lower 48 outside of the West, according to Bespoke Weather Services.
“This occurs as ridging along the West Coast of North America holds in place longer, promoting a colder downstream trough farther east, pushing very cold air from Canada down into much of the U.S.,” the forecaster said.
Bespoke said it added a “whopping” 22 gas-weighted degree days to its projections based on the latest forecasts, with all of that added demand expected after the upcoming weekend.
“The trends in weather will continue to be the main driver of price movement, and we suspect there will be more model volatility this week, triggering moves in both directions,” Bespoke said. “Continued cold trends can still send the market higher, with $3.00 prompt month not impossible, but any end to the cold will send prices tumbling much lower.”
The latest cold trends have opened up the possibility that this November could prove “nearly as cold” as November 2018, according to analysts at EBW Analytics Group.
“With a huge net short speculative position still outstanding, the December contract could test resistance at $2.92 early this week, and potentially rise further if the cold trend continues,” the EBW analysts said. “Natural gas is already overextended and will reverse course once signs emerge that the cold weather will break. For now, though, the rally is likely to continue.”
Meanwhile, planned maintenance this week on Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of America (NGPL), expected to start Tuesday and continue through Wednesday’s gas day, could impact deliveries to the Corpus Christi liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, according to Genscape Inc.
The event is expected to limit deliveries from NGPL’s Sinton meter into the Corpus Christi Pipeline (CCPL) to zero, Genscape analyst Allison Hurley told clients in a note early Monday.
“Deliveries from NGPL’s Sinton meter onto CCPL have averaged 355 MMcf/d over the last 14 days,” Hurley said. “If the shut-in of NGPL Sinton deliveries to CCPL is not displaced by an increase in deliveries from one or more of the other connecting pipelines, then we can expect at least a partial train shutdown at Corpus Christi LNG.”
December crude oil futures were up 56 cents to $56.76/bbl at around 8:30 a.m. ET, while December RBOB gasoline was up about 1.4 cents to $1.6701/gal.