As the latest forecasts showed near-term cold followed by a milder pattern into early March, natural gas futures saw a slight rebound in early trading Tuesday. After selling off 7.8 cents in the previous session, the March Nymex contract was trading 1.8 cents higher at $1.845/MMBtu at around 8:45 a.m. ET.
Warm high pressure is still expected to “rule most of the U.S.” beginning early next week, from March 2-8, according to NatGasWeather. The forecaster observed further warm trends overnight for the 15-day outlook from both the American and European datasets.
“Both still show a nice surge in national demand Thursday through Sunday as a strong cold shot sweeps across the Central, Northern and Eastern U.S. with widespread lows” from near zero into the 20s, NatGasWeather said. “But it’s the after pattern that continues to trend warmer and more bearish as any truly cold air retreats into Canada and out of the reach of U.S. weather systems.
“The recent supply/demand balance has tightened considerably over the past few months, but weather patterns just haven’t been able to cash in other than a few days here and there, and that looks to continue into mid-March.”
Maxar’s Weather Desk highlighted warmer trends for the eastern half of the Lower 48 in its latest forecast for the period from Sunday through March 5.
“Early period belows are similar to previous along the coast on days six and seven under high pressure, but stronger warming emerges after that,” Maxar said. “Much aboves are forecast in the Midwest from day seven onward, while the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast share in the much to near strong above normal coverage on days nine and 10.”
Further out in the March 6-10 time frame, Maxar said its updated forecast Tuesday trended warmer along the East Coast early in the period.
“Overally, the period leans on the warm side of normal from the Plains points eastward, while colder anomalies are in parts of the West,” the forecaster said. “No region diverges more than a few degrees from normal in the composite due to a mix of pattern signals.”
Meanwhile, looking ahead to Thursday’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) storage report, Energy Aspects issued a preliminary estimate for a withdrawal of 158 Bcf for the week ending Feb. 21. That would compare with a five-year average pull of 122 Bcf for the period.
“We estimate residential/commercial demand will be up by 2.7 Bcf/d,” Energy Aspects said. “…This rise is being partially offset by the Presidents Day holiday impact on the industrial sector.”
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) feed gas demand should drop 0.4 Bcf/d week/week amid recent maintenance at the Cameron and Sabine Pass LNG terminals, according to the firm’s estimates. “However, both facilities were back to full intake” as of late last week, “supporting our estimate for LNG feed gas demand to rise by 0.6 Bcf/d week/week in the week ending Feb. 28.”
April crude oil futures were up 7 cents to $51.50/bbl at around 8:45 a.m. ET, while March RBOB gasoline was up fractionally at $1.6096/gal.
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