NEW YORK: US natural gas futures held near a two-week low on Wednesday as forecasts for lower demand next week than previously expected offset continued strong interest in US liquefied natural gas exports from soaring global gas prices.
Front-month gas futures remained unchanged at $4.807 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) at 9:53 a.m. EDT (1353 GMT). On Tuesday, the contract closed at its lowest since Sept. 7. Since hitting a seven-year high last week, the front-month has shed about 12% on growing expectations the United States will have enough gas in storage for the upcoming winter heating season. US gas stockpiles were about 7.1% below their five-year normal for this time of year. Analysts said the storage situation was much worse in Europe where prices have soared to record highs primarily because stockpiles in some countries were 20% or more below normal for this time of year. With gas prices at or near record highs of around $25 per mmBtu in Europe and near $28 in Asia, versus just about $5 in the United States, traders noted that buyers around the world were purchasing all the super-chilled gas the United States could produce. Despite reductions at several plants this month, data provider Refinitiv said the amount of gas flowing to US LNG export plants was only down to an average of 10.4 billion cubic feet per day so far in September from 10.5 bcfd in August.