April natural gas is set to open 11 cents lower Monday morning at $2.68 as weather forecasts remain unsupportive and the April contract normalizes with the expired March at $2.627. Overnight oil markets rose.
Articles from Warmth
March natural gas futures slid lower Thursday as traders focused on near-term warmth and paid little heed to a government inventory report showing the second largest withdrawal from gas inventories of the season. By the end of the session March was 5.3 cents lower at $3.868 and April fell 6.0 cents to $3.901. March crude oil rose $1.37 to $86.36/bbl.
With the Midwest and Northeast huddling together for warmth as the coldest weather of the season sets in over the next couple of days, January natural gas futures in lethargic trading Thursday moved within a slim 23-cent range before closing at $7.671, down 5.6 cents on the day. Coming in well within expectations, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Thursday morning that 11 Bcf was removed from underground natural gas storage for the week ended Dec. 1.
Natural gas futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange was scant Monday as a number of market participants took the day off to observe the Jewish Holiday Yom Kippur. While trading within a slim 13-cent range, November natural gas put in a high of $5.730 before settling at $5.643, up 2.3 cents on the day.
While the East and Midcontinent are expected to see warmth during April and May, there is a good chance that increased volatility will continue during the two-month period, according to MDA EarthSat Energy Weather, which released its updated 30/60-day outlook on Wednesday.
Warm weather and continued strong demand from gas-fired generators filling in for downed nukes and coal units took most of the blame for cash price increases of 5 to 10 cents at most locations and stronger Northeast and Midwest basis on Tuesday. Sable Offshore Energy Project supply remained constrained due to ongoing repairs on a compressor at the Goldboro Plant in Nova Scotia, which held back about 23% (up to 105 MMcf/d) of Maritimes & Northeast volumes.
Gas futures traders slapped down the near-month contract 50.4 cents Thursday to $5.361 following the EIA’s report of a 117 Bcf weekly storage withdrawal and another day of mild spring weather. Market prognosticators had been expecting a weekly storage withdrawal of 100-150 Bcf with most calling for something between 120 Bcf and 145 Bcf.
The gas futures rocket ran out of fuel and apparently had no parachute on Tuesday. April went into free-fall, opening the day down 22.5 cents, and then rapidly sailing straight through the $6 support level and several major trendlines to a hard landing at $5.944, down a grand total of 57.1 cents for the day.
Following last year’s record winter warmth and lower energy prices, Yankee Gas warned that consumers can expect to pay higher energy prices “across the board” this heating season. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) said demand for gas is expected to increase 12% compared to last year, assuming normal weather.
Record warmth and much below average storage withdrawals this winter have prompted Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America to file a request with FERC to increase the capacity of its Cook Mills storage field by 1.2 Bcf to 6.4 Bcf. The increase would be accomplished by raising the pressure of the field, which is located in Coles and Douglas counties, IL. No new facilities are planned, and NGPL said it does not intend to increase the deliverability of the field.