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Markets

US natural gas eases from 7-month high on lower power generator demand

  • Front-month gas futures fell 2 cents, or 0.6%, to $3.332 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) .
  • US pipeline exports to Mexico averaged 6.7 bcfd so far in June, putting them on track to top May's 6.2-bcfd record.
15 Jun 2021

US natural gas futures eased on Tuesday from a seven-month high in the prior session as high prices prompt power generators to burn more coal and less gas to keep air conditioners humming.

Traders noted the decline in futures came even though next-day power and gas prices in Texas and California spiked to multimonth highs as homes and businesses cranked up their air conditioners to escape brutal heat waves.

Front-month gas futures fell 2 cents, or 0.6%, to $3.332 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) at 9:26 a.m. EDT (1326 GMT). On Monday, the contract closed at $3.352, its highest since October 2020.

Data provider Refinitiv said gas output in the Lower 48 US states averaged 91.7 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) so far in June, up from 91.0 bcfd in May but still well below the monthly record high of 95.4 bcfd in November 2019.

With warmer weather on the horizon, Refinitiv projected average gas demand, including exports, would rise from 89.1 bcfd this week to 89.6 bcfd next week. Those demand forecasts were lower than Refinitiv projected on Monday on expectations of lower power generator demand.

The amount of gas flowing to US LNG export plants slid to an average of 9.7 bcfd so far in June, down from 10.8 bcfd in May and an all-time high of 11.5 bcfd in April. Traders noted LNG feedgas was down due to short-term maintenance at the Sabine Pass and Cameron export plants in Louisiana and some of the pipelines that provide them with fuel.

But with European and Asian gas prices both trading over $10 per mmBtu, analysts said they expect buyers around the world to keep purchasing all the LNG the United States can produce.

US pipeline exports to Mexico averaged 6.7 bcfd so far in June, putting them on track to top May's 6.2-bcfd record.

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