Natural Gas Market Indicators – February 15, 2023
- EIA reports a 6.9 Bcf per day decrease in natural gas consumption, the largest drop from the residential and commercial sectors.
- EIA reports the average rate of withdrawals from storage is sixteen percent lower than the five-year average thus far this withdrawal season.
- California hubs experienced significant reductions in prices. Between February 1 and February 8 PG&E Citygate prices fell from $16.74 per MMBtu to $5.03 per MMBtu, and prices at the SoCal Citygate fell from $18.50 to $5.25 per MMBtu.
The first two weeks of February saw relatively mild temperatures throughout the U.S., while NOAA’s sixteen-day forecast predicts colder temperatures to descend from the North and settle in the West and Midwest before pushing East through the end of February. Marginally warmer temperatures are expected in the East for the final weekend in February while cooler temperatures remain prevalent in the West. For the week ending February 11, the weather in the U.S. was 12.9 percent warmer than last year and 19.5 percent warmer than normal as measured by heating degree days. All regions experienced warmer temperatures than last year and warmer temperatures than normal, except the Mountain and Pacific regions.
The Energy Information Administration’s Natural Gas Weekly Update reported a 6.9 Bcf per day decrease in total U.S. consumption from 105.2 Bcf per day to 98.3 Bcf per day for the week ending February 8. The decrease in consumption was primarily driven by a week-over-week decrease in demand of 4.5 Bcf per day from the residential and commercial sectors. Power generation demand also decreased by 2.0 Bcf per day.
The EIA’s Drilling Productivity Report released on February 13 estimated that the three highest natural gas producing regions were the Appalachia, Permian, and Haynesville. The EIA has revised the February production estimates from the Drilling Productivity Report released on January 17. Original February estimates in the January report were marginally lowered for the Appalachia and Haynesville regions (to 35.0 Bcf and 16.5 Bcf per day, respectively) but increased slightly to 22.1 Bcf per day for the Permian. The February 13 edition of the report estimates a month-over-month increase in production from February to March for all EIA reported regions. EIA Natural Gas Weekly Update reports production of 98.8 Bcf per day for the week ending February 8, an increase of 8.8 Bcf per day year-over-year.
Pipeline Imports and Exports
EIA reports a 0.3 Bcf per day week-over-week decrease in imports from Canada from 5.8 Bcf per day to 5.5 Bcf per day for the week ending February 8, down 2.2 Bcf per day year-over-year. Exports to Mexico dropped marginally from 5.2 Bcf per day to 5.1 Bcf per day for the week ending February 8, down 0.4 Bcf per day year over year.
Reuters reported that FERC approved Freeport LNG’s request to return ship loading to service on Thursday, February 9. Although a promising step towards full operation FERC was clear in their filing that this initial approval does not authorize liquefaction trains or other facilities to be in service. Freeport LNG originally anticipated full operation to begin in March of this year. EIA’s Natural Gas Weekly Update reports that overall natural gas deliveries to U.S. LNG export terminals decreased by 0.2 Bcf per day week-over-week from 12.7 Bcf per day to 12.5 Bcf per day for the week ending February 8. According to Bloomberg, twenty-four LNG vessels with a combined carrying capacity of 90 Bcf departed the U.S. between February 2 and February 8. Prompt month future prices at the TTF dropped $0.21 to $17.83 per MMBtu for the week ending February 8, representing an $8.61 decrease in the prompt month future prices from the same time last year.
Working Gas in Underground Storage
The EIA’s Natural Gas Storage Dashboard weekly update report posted a net withdrawal of 217 Bcf, putting total working natural gas in underground storage for the lower 48 at 2,366 Bcf for the week ending February 9. The current working gas in underground storage is five percent above the five-year average and eleven percent above last year. EIA reports the average rate of withdrawals from storage is sixteen percent lower than the five-year average thus far this withdrawal season.
The total U.S. rig count increased by a net total of two for a total of 761 rigs as of February 10. Ten new oil-directed rigs began operation while eight gas-directed rigs were closed. Total rig count is up 126 rigs year over year. Reuters reports the number of gas-directed rigs is essentially unchanged since the beginning of September of 2022 after increasing by more than 50 rigs in the first eight months of 2022.
The EIA’s Weekly Storage Report forecasts natural gas prices to remain below $4.00 per MMBtu until mid-November of 2023. EIA’s Weekly Natural Gas Update reported regional spot prices reported out of Henry Hub, Algonquin Citygate, PG&E Citygate, Sumas, and the Waha Hub fell for the week ending February 8. Arguably the most notable drop in price occurred in Northern California, where PG&E Citygate prices fell $11.71 from $16.74 per MMBtu to $5.03 per MMBtu on February 8. Prices also fell $13.25 at the SoCal Citygate from $18.50 on February 1 to $5.25 per MMBtu on February 8. Prompt-month futures at the Henry Hub continue to remain low. On February 15 prompt-month futures at the Henry Hub were trading around $2.53 per MMBtu, while spot prices ranged from $1.91 per MMBtu in the Mid-Atlantic to $5.53 per MMBtu in Northern California.
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