October natural gas is expected to open a penny lower Wednesday morning at $3.97 as traders see no changes to near-term temperature outlooks and anticipate a plump addition to storage inventories. Overnight oil markets were mixed.
Forecasters overnight saw little change, if only to moderation. "The strong Canadian weather system we have been mentioning for quite some time will finally track across the U.S. over the next several days, and while it will bring some heating demand to the northern U.S., including into the central Plains, it will also bring very comfortable temperatures to the southern U.S. and drive much lower than normal cooling demand," said Natgasweather.com in a Wednesday morning report.
"After a quick reinforcing cool blast follows into the Great Lakes around Monday, temperatures will warm over many regions back into the 70s and 80s and provide very good natgas build weather. With this week's build starting the trend of bigger builds to come, deficits will continue to be replenished at a steady rate through September where weekly builds will likely continue to be 30+ Bcf greater than normal. Southern California coastal cities will be quite warm at times over the next 10 days as offshore winds bring highs of 90s to high population cities. There's nothing we see in the weather or climate data that suggests an impressive cold outbreak will follow for many weeks to come."
Consistent with the Natgasweather.com outlook, the National Weather Service (NWS) calculates extremely modest heating and cooling requirements over major population centers. NWS forecasts that for the week ending Sept. 13, heating requirements from New England to Wisconsin should be on balance below normal. New England is expected to see 14 heating degree days (HDD), or 9 fewer than normal, and the Mid-Atlantic states of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania should have to endure just four HDD, or 10 fewer than normal. The greater Midwest from Ohio to Wisconsin should experience 20 HDD, or two more than normal.
Cooling requirements show a similar pattern. New England is anticipated to enjoy just 10 cooling degree days (CDD), or three more than normal, and the Mid-Atlantic should see 19 CDD, or one more than its normal seasonal tally. The Midwest is expected to realize 16 CDD, or two fewer than normal.
Estimates of Thursday's Energy Information Administration storage report show a wide range. IAF Advisors of Houston expects a build of 89 Bcf, but Citi Futures Perspective calculates a 70 Bcf increase. Ritterbusch and Associates is looking for an 87 Bcf injection. Last year 64 Bcf was injected, and the five-year pace stands at 60 Bcf.
In overnight Globex trading October crude oil fell a 9 cents to $92.66/bbl and October RBOB gasoline rose a half cent to $2.5542/gal.