By Tom Kool
Natural gas futures have hit an 13-year high on higher temperatures to come in the next week combined with lower production levels.
On Monday, Henry Hub natural gas futures were up nearly 10% at a 13-year high.
At 5:00pm EST, Henry Hub prices for July contracts sat at $9.368, up 9.91%. August contracts were at $9.350, up 9.87%.
A key reason for the sudden surge is heat, with temperatures expected to rise significantly in the middle part of this month, with production declining and demand threatening to exceed supply.
Natural Gas Intelligence (NGI) quoted EBW analyst Eli Rubin as saying in a note to clients that a “blistering hot summer” is first and foremost among fears. Rubin said the increasing demand for natural gas for cooling in the coming weeks “could ignite another substantial rally in Nymex futures into mid-summer”.
Texas, in particular, is expected to see demand for natural gas soar to a historical record this week–even before the hottest part of summer sets in.
Also driving natural gas futures upward is rising demand, declining production, and soaring exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the U.S. Gulf coast, diverting domestic supplies.
In its 2022 outlook released in late May, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) projected that U.S. demand for natural gas would outpace supply this summer. As reported by NGI, FERC sees U.S. dry natural gas production increase by 3.4% over the summer months, compared to a projected 4.8% increase in consumption during that same period.
Over the winter period from November 2021 through March 2022, 2,264 billion cubic feet of natural gas was withdrawn from U.S. storage, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). That withdrawal is 10% higher than the previous five-year average. Already this winter, U.S. demand for natural gas exceeded supply by 14.9 billion cubic feet per day.