Houston — The NYMEX October gas futures contract jumped 6.1 cents and settled at $3.038/MMBtu Monday on expectation of a demand spike in early October.
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The front-month contract traded between $2.951/MMBtu and $3.044/MMBtu.
"There has been an expectation of a cold front coming in early October," said David Thompson, executive vice president at PowerHouse Brokerage, noting that it might drive up prices and help break the $3.10/MMBtu level.
The National Weather Service calls for a likelihood of cooler-than-average temperatures across much of north of the US over the next eight to 14 days.
S&P Global Platts Analytics projections show an uptick in heating demand, likely due to the expected cold front, with residential and commercial demand averaging 16.1 Bcf/d in the next eight to 14 days, compared with 14.2 Bcf/d for the same time period last year.
Residential and commercial demand averaged 12.2 Bcf/d since the beginning of September.
"The market is rock-strong and coming back to levels seen in mid-August," Thompson said.
The front-month contract averaged $2.945/MMBtu between August 8 and 24, moving as high as $2.98/MMBtu. But the rallies started to diminish after August 24.
Prices have seen some upward mobility since September 18, averaging $2.948/MMBtu in the past week.
"This rally is faster and stronger than the one seen in June and August," Thompson said. "The market may be able to break the $3.1/MMBtu mark if not $3.3/MMBtu, but I have to see it to believe it."
On the supply side, total US dry gas production dropped 1.2 Bcf day on day after hitting 84 Bcf/d Sunday, largely due to production declines in the Northeast, according to data from Platts Analytics. Output is projected to stay at elevated levels, averaging 83 Bcf/d over the next two weeks.
Month to date, production has averaged 83.2 Bcf/d, up nearly 10 Bcf from year-ago levels of 73.5 Bcf/d.
The NYMEX settlement price is considered preliminary and subject to change until a final settlement price is posted at 7 pm EDT (2300 GMT). -- Veda Chowdhury, firstname.lastname@example.org
-- Edited by Annie Siebert, email@example.com