Forecasts again moved in the colder direction overnight to boost natural gas futures several cents in early trading Tuesday. The December Nymex contract was up 6.3 cents to $2.884/MMBtu shortly after 8:30 a.m. ET.
Models advertised additional cold trends overnight for a “frigid blast” of Arctic air expected to “push deep into the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast” next week, dropping lows below zero in some areas, according to NatGasWeather.
“This is an impressively chilly blast for this early in the season, with temperatures 20-45 degrees below normal and likely to set records,” NatGasWeather said. “...The pattern after Nov. 15 favors cold air eroding, although there could easily continue to be cold shots pushing across the Midwest and Northeast, aided by a warm ridge over the West.
“But the data has been quite inconsistent past Nov. 15, and it would be best to give it another day before believing anything.”
Maxar’s Weather Desk highlighted colder changes to its updated forecast for the period starting Sunday and continuing through Nov. 14.
“A strong ridge in the eastern Pacific is built northward toward the Arctic, providing the pathway for polar air diving southward and into the eastern two-thirds of North America,” the forecaster said. “...Temperatures are forecast to average in the strong below normal category in the Midwest, and strong belows are also in the South and East in the mid- to late period.”
Further out in the 11-15 day period (Nov. 15-19), Maxar said the weather models “continue to trend colder during this time frame, and the forecast follows suit with a cold adjustment in the Northwest through mid-period and for most days” in the eastern half of North America, “with ridging being slow to break down along the West Coast toward the polar region.”
Looking ahead to this week’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) storage report, Energy Aspects issued a preliminary estimate for a 40 Bcf build for the period ended Nov. 1.
“Heating loads will sharply rise week/week as the injection rate more than halves,” the firm said. “That slowdown also corresponds to a 0.4 Bcf/d week/week output decline. If weather forecasts hold, our models indicate this will be the last injection of 2019.”
The recent cold shift in the forecasts has added substantially to what the firm previously expected to be an “anemic” 40 Bcf withdrawal for the month of November, an estimate based on 10-year normal weather.
“Given our outlook for a high end-March 2020 carryout,” the boost to weather-driven demand this month “could provide minor relief to a loose set of short-term seasonal balances,” Energy Aspects said. “With the short bias of the market, revisions colder to the forecast could temporarily boost trading. However, the degree to which cold materializes in late November and early December (and the degree of production growth) will be key to price formation as balances are still looking loose.”
December crude oil futures were trading 43 cents higher at $56.97 shortly after 8:30 a.m. ET, while December RBOB gasoline was up around a penny to $1.6739/gal.