March 17, 2020 / 7:43 PM / 12 days ago

UPDATE 1-U.S. natgas futures fall near 5% with oil, mild weather forecasts

 (Adds latest prices)
    March 17 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures fell almost 5%
on Tuesday with oil prices declining as the coronavirus slows
economic growth and forecasts for milder weather and less
heating demand next week than previously expected.
    Front-month gas futures for April delivery on the New
York Mercantile Exchange fell 8.6 cents, or 4.7%, to settle at
$1.729 per million British thermal units (mmBtu). That puts the
contract within a nickel of its lowest close in four years.
    Brent crude fell to its lowest since 2016 as the
coronavirus pandemic slowed economic growth and oil demand while
Saudi Arabia and Russia kept up their battle for market share.

    Even before the coronavirus started to spread, gas prices
were trading near their lowest in years. Near-record production
and mild weather has enabled utilities to leave more gas in
storage, making fuel shortages and price spikes unlikely this
winter.
    Gas futures were trading about 40% below the eight-month
high of $2.905 per mmBtu hit in early November.
    But prices from December 2020 on were all trading positive,
on expectations gas demand will start to rise. Calendar 2021
 traded above 2022 for a third session in a
row for the first time since May 2019.
    With cooler weather expected, data provider Refinitiv
projected gas demand in the U.S. Lower 48 states, including
exports, would rise from an average of 104.7 billion cubic feet
per day (bcfd) this week to 106.8 bcfd next week. That compares
with Refinitiv's forecasts on Monday of 103.2 bcfd for this week
and 108.7 bcfd for next week.
    The amount of gas flowing to U.S. liquefied natural gas
(LNG) export plants was on track to rise to 8.6 bcfd on Tuesday
from 8.5 bcfd on Monday due mostly to increases at Cheniere
Energy Inc's Sabine Pass export terminal in Louisiana,
according to Refinitiv. That increase in overall LNG flows came
despite a decline at Cheniere's Corpus Christi plant in Texas
and compares with an average of 8.0 bcfd last week and an
all-time daily high of 9.5 bcfd on Jan. 31.
    Analysts said flows to Sabine declined over the weekend in
part because fog reduced the number of vessels that could enter
and exit the port. Cheniere said it does not comment on
operations.
    Gas production in the Lower 48 states held at 94.5 bcfd for
a third day in a row on Monday, according to Refinitiv. That
compares with an average of 93.9 bcfd last week and an all-time
daily high of 96.6 bcfd on Nov. 30. 
                     
                                        Week ended     Week ended    Year ago    Five-year   
                                         March 13       March 6      March 13     average    
                                        (Forecast)      (Actual)                 March 13    
 U.S. natgas storage (bcf):                -12            -48          -91          -63      
                                                                                             
                                                                                             
 Refinitiv Heating (HDD), Cooling (CDD) and Total (TDD) Degree Days                          
 Two-Week Total Forecast               Current Day     Prior Day    Prior Year    10-Year    30-Year Norm
                                                                                   Norm      
 U.S. GFS HDDs                             261            278          263          250          258
 U.S. GFS CDDs                              21             21           7           17            13
 U.S. GFS TDDs                             282            299          370          267          271
                                                                                             
 Refinitiv U.S. Weekly GFS Supply and Demand Forecasts                                       
                                        Prior Week    Current Week  Next Week    This Week    Five-Year
                                                                                 Last Year   Average For
                                                                                                Month
 U.S. Supply (bcfd)                                                                                
                                                                                             
 U.S. Lower 48 Dry Production              93.7           94.3         94.3        88.9          76.9
 U.S. Imports from Canada                  6.6            6.9          7.2          8.6          8.5
 U.S. LNG Imports                          0.1            0.0          0.0          0.0          0.2
 Total U.S. Supply                        100.5          101.2        101.5        97.5          85.6
 
 U.S. Demand (bcfd)
 U.S. Exports to Canada                    3.0            2.8          2.9          2.8          2.6
 U.S. Exports to Mexico                    5.6            5.6          5.6          4.8          3.8
 U.S. LNG Exports                          8.0            8.4          8.9          5.4          1.8
 U.S. Commercial                           10.9           11.3         12.0        12.4          12.3
 U.S. Residential                          16.2           16.9         18.4        19.2          19.4
 U.S. Power Plant                          27.9           29.4         28.2        26.1          23.7
 U.S. Industrial                           23.1           23.2         23.6        23.6          22.6
 U.S. Plant Fuel                           4.6            4.7          4.7          4.7          4.7
 U.S. Pipe Distribution                    2.3            2.3          2.4          2.3          2.5
 U.S. Vehicle Fuel                         0.1            0.1          0.1          0.1          0.1
 Total U.S. Consumption                    85.0           88.0         89.5        88.4          85.3
 Total U.S. Demand                        101.6          104.7        106.8        101.4         93.5
                                                                                             
                                                                                             
 SNL U.S. Natural Gas Next-Day Prices ($ per mmBtu)                                          
 Hub                                   Current Day     Prior Day                             
 Henry Hub NG-W-HH-SNL                   1.89           1.94                               
 Transco Z6 New York NG-CG-NY-SNL        1.46           1.67                               
 PG&E Citygate NG-CG-PGE-SNL             2.81           2.75                               
 Dominion South NG-PCN-APP-SNL           1.40           1.54                               
 Chicago Citygate NG-CG-CH-SNL           1.70           1.74                               
 Algonquin Citygate NG-CG-BS-SNL         1.66           1.78                               
 SoCal Citygate NG-SCL-CGT-SNL           2.61           2.35                               
 Waha Hub NG-WAH-WTX-SNL                 0.79           0.56                               
                                                                                             
 SNL U.S. Power Next-Day Prices ($ per megawatt-hour)                                        
 Hub                                   Current Day     Prior Day                             
 New England EL-PK-NPMS-SNL             21.25          17.75                               
 PJM West EL-PK-PJMW-SNL                26.00          25.78                               
 Ercot North EL-PK-ERTN-SNL             30.00          35.00                               
 Mid C EL-PK-MIDC-SNL                   34.75          38.50                               
 Palo Verde EL-PK-PLVD-SNL              30.25          39.00                               
 SP-15 EL-PK-SP15-SNL                   31.50          39.75                               
 
 (Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Bernadette Baum and
Tom Brown)
  
 
 
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