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NYMEX gas continues to rise at $2.990/MMBtu as frigid weather lingers

NYMEX February natural gas futures extended gains overnight in the US leading up to Tuesday's open, on the back of current and midrange weather support. At 7:20 am ET (1220 GMT) the contract was gripping the upside at $2.990/MMBtu, up 3.7 cents on the session.

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Frigid weather with temperatures "rivaling that of the past 100 years" will linger across the northeastern and central US to start January, AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said in a January 1 forecast.

AccuWeather RealFeel temperatures are expected to be below zero over much of the Northeast and well below zero in most of the Midwest.

Further out, the six-to-10-day and eight-to-14-day projections from the National Weather Service show below-average temperatures engulfing portions of the Northwest and a majority of the country's eastern two-thirds, which should keep demand for heating in the residential and commercial sectors and consequently natural gas consumption levels elevated in the weeks ahead.

"Energy demands will skyrocket. Household heating budgets may take a huge hit," Sosnowski added.

Withdrawals from underground natural gas storage facilities are expected to climb into the 200-Bcf range over the next three or four weeks as the cold weather supports rising demand.

--Staff reports,
--Edited by Maurice Geller,