NEW YORK: US natural gas futures fell on Wednesday, retreating from an over two-year peak as forecasts projected cooler weather over the next two weeks, while output is expected to rise. Front-month gas futures fell about 7 cents to $3.571 per million British thermal units by 10:17 am EDT (1528 GMT). The session high of $3.822 was its highest since late 2018.
Data provider Refinitiv projected average gas demand, including exports, would dip from 89.7 bcfd this week to 88.6 bcfd next week as milder weather curbs air conditioning use. Refinitiv said gas output in the Lower 48 US states fell to an average of 90.7 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) so far in July due mostly to pipeline problems in West Virginia. That compares with an average of 92.2 bcfd in June and an all-time high of 95.4 bcfd in November 2019.
But total gas supply is expected to rise from last week's 98.2 bcfd to 98.6 bcfd this week and to 99.1 bcfd the following week, Refinitiv said. Daniel Myers, market analyst at Gelber & Associates in Houston said gas production would be a key near-term driver for prices.
"We expect higher production growth and more drilling coming out in the next weeks and months," Myers said, adding that milder weather was also driving the recent pullback. The amount of gas flowing to US liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plants averaged 11 bcfd so far in July, up from 10.1 bcfd in June, but still below April's record 11.5 bcfd. With European and Asian gas both trading over $11 per mmBtu, analysts expect LNG exports from the United States to remain high.