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Natural Gas Slides on Supply Build, Poised for Weekly Loss

September 10, 2020 at 15:39 by Andrew Moran

Natural gas futures are sliding on Thursday after the US government reported a slightly bigger-than-expected increase in domestic inventories. This comes following a revised forecast for natural gas prices. The energy commodity is on track for a weekly loss as it continues a reversal from previous highs.

October natural gas futures tumbled $0.037, or 1.54%, to $2.369 per million British thermal units (btu) at 15:20 GMT on Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Natural gas is poised for a weekly drop of around 4%. The so-called bridge fuel has rallied in recent months, climbing more than 31% since June. Year-to-date, it is up by nearly 10%.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), domestic supplies rose 70 billion cubic feet in the week ending September 4. The market had penciled in an increase of 68 billion. In total, US inventories stand at 3.525 trillion cubic feet, up 528 billion cubic feet from the same time a year ago. They are also 409 billion cubic feet above the five-year average.

On Wednesday, the EIA released its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), which lifted its projection for natural gas prices to $2.49 in 2020 and $3.00 in 2021. The STEO cited rising domestic demand and foreign consumption of liquid natural gas (LNG) shipments. It also estimated that the total US working natural gas in storage will reach four trillion cubic feet by the end of October, a 6% bump above the five-year average.

Several facilities in the US continue to be offline in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura, including the Cameron LNG export location in Louisiana. Experts predict that it would not resume operations for several more weeks. EBW Analytics Group said in a report:

While restoring power to the Lake Charles area could take up to two months, Cameron is on the outer edge of the affected area. Power can be restored while the rest of the system is still being rebuilt. Some observers believe the required work could be completed in one to two weeks.

Meanwhile, some weather outlooks for the autumn season anticipate warmer than average conditions. From The Weather Channel:

Warmer than average temperatures will dominate most of the United States this fall, according to the latest outlook issued by The Weather Company, an IBM Business.

Fall temperatures as a whole are expected to be above average from the Northeast to the central states and the West Coast. The southern Rockies and southern High Plains could have temperatures much above average.

The Southeast is expected to see temperature near or slightly above average, which means it should feel pretty close to what’s expected in fall.

Fall for seasonal forecasting and climatological records is September through November.

In other energy commodities, October West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures fell $0.23, or 0.6%, to $37.82 per barrel. November Brent crude futures shed $0.21, or 0.51%, to $40.58 a barrel. October gasoline futures dipped $0.0062, or 0.55%, to $1.1134 a gallon. October heating oil futures dropped $0.009, or 0.81%, to $1.0976 per gallon.

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