As analyst estimates showed liquefied natural gas (LNG) demand continuing to sag in the aftermath of former Hurricane Laura, gas futures were down sharply in early trading Monday. The October Nymex contract was off 7.8 cents to $2.579/MMBtu at around 8:45 a.m. ET.
Estimates from Genscape Inc. put interstate pipeline flows to U.S. LNG export facilities at 2.68 Bcf/d for Monday’s timely cycle.
“LNG feed gas demand has still not recovered from the devastating effects of Hurricane Laura,” the firm said. Prior to Laura, August feed gas demand averaged 4.33 Bcf/d. “These major declines are still being driven most notably by Sabine Pass LNG and Cameron LNG.”
Flow data suggested both the Sabine Pass and Cameron terminals remained shut down through the weekend, analysts at Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. (TPH) said in a note to clients. However, flows to Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Corpus Christi, TX, facility “increased by around 1 Bcf/d, as Sabine offtakers shuffled over to Corpus to lift their cargoes, offsetting most of the 1.5 Bcf/d drop at Sabine.
“Unrelated to the hurricane but worth noting, Haynesville Shale volumes are approaching 11 Bcf/d again, halting a four-month decline…Once Gulf of Mexico (GOM) volumes are fully restored, we could see total production return to the 90.5 Bcf/d mark for the first time since late April.”
Genscape estimated GOM production at 0.4 Bcf/d as of early Monday, well below pre-Laura production of 1.8 Bcf/d.
“Since Hurricane Laura’s landfall, many offshore pipelines have issued notices regarding remanning platforms and the completion of both onshore and offshore inspections,” analyst Preston Fussee-Durham said.
In terms of weekend shifts in the weather data, Bespoke Weather Services said its latest forecast came in slightly cooler compared to Friday.
Next week “we see a couple of shots of cooler air into the central U.S., even into parts of the South at times,” Bespoke said. “As this occurs, heat will rebuild in the western states, while the East will see some variability, though it leans on the above side of normal.
“Adding it all up, we find a rather tame pattern, nationally, for the first half of September, quite different than what we saw last year, and also divergent from the average of the last few years, as September has tended to run hot.”
Adding to the weakness in LNG demand and the cooler weather trends, Bespoke said power burns heading into Monday’s trading looked “a little weaker, both in absolute terms with less heat but also on a weather-adjusted basis, as we see signs of coal switching at these higher price levels.”
October crude oil futures were up 40 cents to $43.37/bbl at around 8:45 a.m. ET, while September RBOB gasoline was off fractionally to $1.3089/gal.
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