Novembernatural gas futures climbed to a $3.032/MMBtu high in its debut session as thelead contract, but drifted back lower and closed the Thursday, Sept. 29,trading day 4.3 cents lower at $2.959/MMBtu.
TheU.S. Energy Information Administration released its latest storage figure fornatural gas at 10:30 a.m. ET that outlined a build to stocks for the week toSept. 23 of 49 Bcf,below outlooks calling for a 54-Bcf injection and well below the 99-Bcfinjection reported for the same week in 2015 and the five-year averageinjection of 97 Bcf.
Thebuild brought total U.S. working gas supply to 3,600 Bcf and cut overhangs to90 Bcf above the year-ago level and 220 Bcf above the five-year average storagelevel of 3,380 Bcf.
In aknee-jerk response to the data, November futures climbed to the intraday peakvalue as the figure reflects a tightening of the supply/demand balance.However, the total working gas supply remains robust and given the anticipationof milder weather moving deeper into the fall season, the market reversed gainsand pulled back below $3/MMBtu.
Weatherremains a key market driver of both supply and demand, as strong demand fromlingering heat has resulted in smaller weekly infusions of natural gas intoinventories into the shoulder season when demand typically wanes.
Forecastssupport lingering demand as above-average temperatures engulf the eastern halfof the country through early October. Still, the calendar supports theexpectation of lower high temperatures that should help eliminate late-seasoncooling and allow natural gas inventories to build at a more rapid pace aheadof the peak winter heating season.
Analystsand traders looking early at the next inventory report that will cover thecurrent week to Sept. 30, see an increase in the rate of storage buildinglooking for an injection in the low 70s Bcf. Comparisons to the 95-Bcffive-year average injection and the 96-Bcf injection reported for the same weekin 2015 suggests additional upside support as storage overhangs are trimmedfurther, but the improvement in overall storage and additional mild weather inthe subsequent weeks should continue to limit the upside.
Day-aheadtrades were mostly lower due to demand erosion on milder weather and withnatural gas futures' retreat.
TranscoZone 6 NY traded about 15 cents lower to an index below 70 cents and Tetco-M3,nearly 15 cents lower, found an index around 60 cents. Benchmark Henry Hubtrades were nearly 5 cents lower to an average around $2.95 and Chicago joinedthe wider trend, trading about 1 cent lower to an index around $2.85, but Wahabucked the trend, adding less than 1 cent to an index atop $2.80. In the West,SoCal Border traded about 5 cents lower to an index near $2.75 and PG&EGate shed 5 cents to an index around $3.35.
Market prices and includedindustry data are current as of the time of publication and are subject tochange. For more detailed market data, including our power,naturalgas and coalindex prices, as well as forwardsand futures,visit our Commodities Pages. To view detailed EIA Weekly Natural Gas Storagedata, go to our Natural Gas Storage Page.