U.S. natural gas finished slightly higher Wednesday, enough to post a fresh seven-month high and escape a broader selloff in crude oil and other energy commodities, with analysts citing extended heat in some key gas-consuming regions in the southern U.S.
Front-month Nymex natural gas (NG1:COM) for November delivery briefly topped $3/MMBtu before settling +0.4% to $2.962/MMBtu, its highest closing price since March 3 and seventh gain in the past nine sessions.
Even with the recent gains, U.S. natgas is down 34% YTD, and BOK Financial’s Dennis Kissler said a bearish structure remains in place, but a “possible upside breakout could be in play.”
Top gas-consuming state Texas continues to post high temperatures in the 90s in some major cities including Dallas, which is feeding natural gas demand longer into the fall season than usual.
Partly due to the Texas heat, some analysts are forecasting a below-average gas injection in Thursday’s weekly EIA storage data.
Financial data provider LSEG said average gas production in the lower 48 states slipped to 102.4B cf/day so far in October, down from 102.9B cf/day in September and a monthly record high 103.1B cf/day in August.
According to Reuters, energy traders said they expected Berkshire Hathaway’s Cove Point LNG facility in Maryland to exit a maintenance outage over the next week; the plant was shut around September 20 for normal fall maintenance.