A combination of lower production estimates and hotter overnight forecast trends helped lift natural gas futures in early trading Wednesday. The August Nymex contract was up 14.5 cents to $5.668/MMBtu as of around 8:50 a.m. ET.

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A day/day drop in production estimates of around 1.6-1.9 Bcf/d was “providing fundamental cover” for higher prices as of early Wednesday, EBW Analytics Group Eli Rubin told clients.

“Still, many analysts are crediting” higher domestic supply as the cause of recent bearish surprises from the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) weekly storage data, Rubin noted. This suggests “upward production revisions remain possible.”

Thursday’s EIA report “will likely carry increased market significance following back-to-back bearish builds — and could swing prices in either direction as the natural gas market looks to establish firmer support,” the analyst added.

Weather data was slightly hotter trending overnight, with modest cooling degree day gains for both the American and European models, according to NatGasWeather.

The next 10 days remain on track to deliver strong demand temperature-wise “as the southern two-thirds of the U.S. experiences highs of upper 80s to 100s, hottest over the Southwest deserts, Texas and the Southern Plains,” NatGasWeather said. 

Still, the weather outlook would be “more intimidating” with better coverage of heat over northern portions of the Lower 48 and with stronger liquefied natural gas exports, the firm said.

“National demand is still expected to ease to near normal July 15-17 as the eastern half of the U.S. cools as weather systems track through, while the hot upper ridge becomes anchored over the western half of the U.S.,” NatGasWeather said. “The overnight data teased a hotter U.S. pattern returning July 18-20 as the hot upper ridge extends back across the eastern half of the U.S.”

Meanwhile, looking overseas, Europe avoided a crisis after Norway’s government intervened Tuesday to resolve a workers strike that could have “caused widespread disruption to several gas fields and pipelines,” according to Rystad Energy analyst Lu Ming Pang.

Dutch Title Transfer Facility prices “have since calmed” on the developments after climbing at the start of the strike, the analyst said.