Natural gas futures were rallying early Tuesday as a drop in the latest production estimates added to the concerns of a market already skittish over supply adequacy heading into the summer cooling season. 

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The June Nymex contract was up 35.1 cents to $8.307/MMBtu at around 8:45 a.m. ET. July was up 34.3 cents to $8.396.

Updated estimates from Wood Mackenzie were showing a roughly 1.3 Bcf/d day/day decline in domestic production, with output down to around 94.5 Bcf/d as of early Tuesday.

Potentially a mitigating factor in the drop-off, the declines appeared to correlate with pipeline maintenance events, according to Wood Mackenzie analyst Laura Munder.

Notable regional declines were in the Northeast (down about 500 MMcf/d), North Louisiana (down about 380 MMcf/d) and the Rockies (down about 275 MMcf/d), according to Munder.

EBW Analytics Group senior analyst Eli Rubin pointed to a nearly 1.0 Bcf/d drop in the seven-day moving average of production over the past week, a result of seasonal pipeline maintenance, as evidence that “struggles continue” for domestic supply levels.

“The market has repeatedly proven very sensitive to small shifts in production during a long-term undersupplied outlook, and today’s particularly weak early-cycle readings drove the Nymex front month up 30 cents this morning,” Rubin said.

Technically speaking, prices could continue to rally to the $8.50 area near-term, according to the analyst.

“With the market very reactive to relatively minor fundamental catalysts, higher supply revisions or milder weather forecasts could quickly reverse building bullish momentum,” Rubin said.

Meanwhile, major weather models saw only small changes overnight in terms of degree days, according to NatGasWeather.

“Most importantly, coming U.S. weather patterns will continue to drive enough of a mix of heating and cooling demand the next 15 days to keep current deficits just over 300 Bcf,” the firm said. 

The pattern as of early Tuesday was viewed as “near seasonal the front 14 days,” though the models overnight hinted at “a hotter pattern arriving around the start of June,” NatGasWeather said. If correct “this could give the natural gas markets reason to be concerned a hotter-than-normal summer will arrive early and increase deficits further.”