With lingering uncertainty over how quickly liquefied natural gas (LNG) demand will recover following Hurricane Laura, gas futures were trading several cents lower early Tuesday. The October Nymex contract was down 7.0 cents to $2.560/MMBtu at around 8:45 a.m. ET.
The October contract fell to as low as $2.497 in Monday’s session amid signs of continued impacts to LNG demand from Laura.
Analysts at EBW Analytics Group said the market initially “badly misjudged” the storm’s impact.
“In an impressive show of strength…after support for October held just below $2.50, a better-informed assessment prevailed,” the EBW analysts said. “Futures rallied strongly, with October recovering all but 2.7 cents of its losses and the rest of the forward curve posting gains.”
Questions remain as to how long it will take the Sabine Pass and Cameron LNG terminals to ramp back up, and the October contract could still face downward price pressure in the interim, according to EBW.
However, “once the terminals are back online, LNG feed gas flows could jump by as much as 4-5 Bcf/d from Monday’s 2.88 Bcf/d level,” the EBW analysts said. “This could push the forward curve higher and reduce the October/December spread.”
Looking at the latest forecast, after adding “numerous” total degree days in recent days, the Global Forecast System (GFS) lowered demand projections overnight by showing less cooling demand this weekend and slightly less heating demand for next week, according to NatGasWeather. This put the GFS into better alignment with the European dataset, which added demand overnight.
“No major changes overall with national demand light today, stronger Wednesday through Friday as hot conditions return across the East, then back to light this weekend into next week as strong weather systems push deep into the northern and central U.S. with highs of only upper 50s to 70s,” NatGasWeather said. The temperature outlook points to a few early season heating degree days next week, but this is “not expected to translate to much heating demand.”
Beyond next week, the pattern “remains rather bearish” from a lack of either cold or heat relative to seasonal norms for mid-September, the forecaster said.
From a technical perspective, Monday’s price action marked “a close call, but no breakdown” for the bulls after prices held above the $2.590 level on a closing basis, according to ICAP Technical Analysis analyst Brian LaRose.
“The question now, can the bulls better both $2.768 and $2.882-2.905?” LaRose said. “If they can we will be gunning for $3.180 next. If they cannot the threat of a deeper retreat will remain. Bulls have no time to waste.”
October crude oil futures were up 41 cents to $43.02/bbl at around 8:45 a.m. ET, while October RBOB gasoline was up about 1.6 cents to $1.2297/gal.
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