With prices finding little support from mild weather shaping up after the current week, natural gas futures extended their recent slide in early trading Wednesday. After plunging 23.4 cents in Tuesday’s session, the November contract was down another 10.4 cents to $2.457/MMBtu at around 8:50 a.m. ET.
Natural gas futures had a “tough day” Tuesday, observed Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. (TPH) analysts, but they don’t expect the sell-off to mark the start of a “prolonged slide” for prices.
“In our view, gas got caught up in a broader market sell-off, largely mirroring oil on the day, while a pop in production and concerns around a second wave of Covid-19 weakened the fundamentals,” the TPH analysts said.
Still, TPH projected that 13 of the next 15 Energy Information Administration (EIA) storage reports will fall to the bullish side of the five-year average.
TPH balances suggested that 2021 pricing of around $2.90 “will be required to balance the market through gas to coal switching, with 2022 shaping up for another 2 Bcf/d tightening” as the global liquefied natural gas (LNG) market “continues to firm up and industrial demand recovers. If gas does continue to slide in the near term we see it as an opportunity against a multi-year backdrop of tightening fundamentals.”
Bespoke Weather Services said the latest guidance continued to point to a “low demand regime” after the current week, with warm temperatures expected to expand eastward from western portions of the country.
Meanwhile, the firm said it found no significant day/day changes in the key fundamental indicators to explain the move lower early Wednesday.
“There is not a logical reason why contracts beyond November should be dragged down because of the record storage situation, as it is a completely different world fundamentally, but with spreads already at such wide levels, the market cannot help but react in this way, at least for now,” Bespoke said. “The other issue that will grow over time is the weather, which right now is solidly on the bearish side of the ledger, and may remain that way into late October and even into November.”
While the market may face bearish headwinds from the current weather picture, “the risk of a snap back much higher in winter prices looms should we see a colder turn down the road,” the firm added.
Looking ahead to Thursday’s EIA storage report, Energy Aspects issued a preliminary estimate for a 71 Bcf injection for the week ending Sept. 25. The firm cited a series of maintenance events impacting Appalachian production during the period, expected to take about 1.1 Bcf/d of supply offline.
Energy Aspects said it modeled a 0.9 Bcf/d week/week decline in production out of Northeast Pennsylvania from maintenance at the Cove Point LNG terminal and on the Tennessee Gas Pipeline system. The remaining supply impacts stemmed from maintenance on the Leach Xpress system, the firm said.
November crude oil futures were down 17 cents to $39.12/bbl at around 8:50 a.m. ET, while October RBOB gasoline was down about 1.5 cents to $1.1864/gal.
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