Natural Gas Intelligence
Broad Decline Led By Northeast Points; Futures Stumble

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cash market prices fell just over a nickel on average Wednesday as weakness at Northeast points led a broad retreat. Natural gas futures were even softer. At the close January futures had fallen 9.8 cents to $3.320 and February sank 8.9 cents to $3.366. January crude oil added $1.58 to $89.51/bbl.

Northeast markets continued to labor under mild weather conditions and abundant supply. "It's pretty warm, and I think a lot of people are long gas," said a Northeast trader.

The marketer expected lower prices "if the weather stays warm, and most factories beginning Friday will be off for at least a week. Unless we get a cold snap, I don't see demand picking up. It's not like the economy is going crazy."

Tom Moore, lead meteorologist at The Weather Channel issued a forecast that indicated rain showers would arrive "later on Thursday from western New York to West Virginia, but with dry conditions from most of New England to the Middle Atlantic region Thursday." The highs Thursday are forecast to "range from the 30s along the Canadian border to near 50 around the Chesapeake Bay [with] a return to more wintry conditions from western New York to West Virginia by early Friday."

Up and down the East Coast temperatures were forecast to be well above normal. predicted the high Wednesday in Boston of 48 would ease to 45 Thursday before reaching 46 Friday, six degrees above normal. New York City was expected to see Wednesday's high of 52 slip to 48 Thursday before bouncing to 55 Friday. The normal high in New York City is 42. In Philadelphia Wednesday's unseasonable high of 50 was predicted to fall to 46 on Thursday and climb to 50 on Friday. The seasonal high in Philadelphia is 41 for mid-December.

For the week ended Dec. 14 most traders are looking at something below 81 Bcf. IAF Advisors of Houston calculates a withdrawal of 76 Bcf, and a Reuters poll of 25 traders and analysts showed an average of 72 Bcf. Industry consultant Bentek Energy predicts a pull of 77 Bcf. Last year 100 Bcf was withdrawn and the five-year average stands at 144 Bcf.

To access a complete copy of this report please click here.