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Markets

U.S. natgas rises from 10-week low on higher power plant demand, cooler weather

  • The amount of gas flowing to U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plants, meanwhile, averaged 11.4 bcfd so far in April, which would top March's monthly record of 10.8 bcfd.
Updated 08 Apr 2021

U.S. natural gas futures rose over 2% on Wednesday after dropping to a 10-week low in the prior session as lower prices encourage power generators to burn more gas and less coal to produce electricity and on forecasts for slightly cooler weather later in April.

Front-month gas futures rose 6.4 cents, or 2.6%, to settle at $2.520 per million British thermal units. On Tuesday, the contract closed at its lowest since Jan. 22.

Data provider Refinitiv said output in the Lower 48 U.S. states averaged 92.2 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) so far in April, up from 91.6 bcfd in March but still well below the record monthly high of 95.4 bcfd in November 2019.

Refinitiv projected average gas demand, including exports, would rise from 89.7 bcfd this week to 90.2 bcfd next week as low gas prices prompt power generators to burn more gas and less coal. That demand is a little higher than Refinitiv projected on Tuesday.

The amount of gas flowing to U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plants, meanwhile, averaged 11.4 bcfd so far in April, which would top March's monthly record of 10.8 bcfd.

Buyers around the world continue to purchase near-record amounts of U.S. gas because prices in Europe and Asia remain high enough to cover the cost of buying and transporting the U.S. fuel across the ocean.

Traders, however, noted U.S. LNG exports cannot rise much more until new units enter service in 2022, since the United States only has the capacity to export about 10.5 bcfd of gas as LNG.

LNG plants pull in a little more gas than they export since they use some of the fuel to run the facility.

Traders also noted LNG feedgas would likely decline over the next week or two as liquefaction units and/or pipelines feeding them shut for routine spring maintenance at Cheniere Energy Inc's Corpus Christi in Texas and Cameron LNG's plant in Louisiana.