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U.S. natural gas futures gain 3% ahead of storage report

          Nov 17 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures edged up about 3% to a one-week high on Thursday as
forecasts continued to call for colder weather and higher heating demand next week.
    Prices increased despite forecasts for warmer weather and lower heating demand in two weeks than
previously expected and a federal storage report expected to show a much bigger-than-usual storage build last
week when the weather was still mild and heating demand low.
    Analysts forecast U.S. utilities added 63 billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas to storage during the week ended
Nov. 11. That compares with an increase of 23 bcf in the same week last year and a five-year (2017-2021)
average decline of 5 bcf.
    If correct, last week's increase would push stockpiles to 3.643 trillion cubic feet (tcf), or 0.2% below
the five-year average of 3.651 tcf for this time of the year. If last week's build turns out to be bigger than
expected, it could push storage over the five-year norm for the first time since January.
    Some traders said they were surprised U.S. gas prices were on track to rise for a fourth day in a row
despite widespread expectations Freeport LNG will delay the restart of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) export
plant in Texas to December or later.
    In recent days, a couple of LNG vessels that were either heading for Freeport (LNG Rosenrot) or had waited
outside the plant (Prism Brilliance) have moved onto other ports. LNG Rosenrot is now headed for Gibraltar,
while Prism Brilliance is sitting outside Corpus Christi in Texas where Cheniere Energy Inc (LNG) has an LNG
export plant, according to ship tracking data from Refinitiv.
    Federal pipeline safety regulators released a heavily redacted consultant's report this week blaming
inadequate operating and testing procedures, human error and fatigue for the June 8 explosion that shut the
Freeport LNG plant.
    Sources familiar with Freeport LNG's filings with federal regulators said that as of Wednesday morning the
company had not yet submitted a request to resume service to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline
and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). Many analysts said that means the plant will not return
to service until December at the earliest.
    Until late last week, Freeport LNG had said repeatedly the plant remained on track to return to service in
November. In comments made in recent days, however, the company did not mention a restart date.
    Front-month gas futures were up 15.3 cents, or 2.5%, to $6.353 per million British thermal units
(mmBtu) at 8:42 a.m. EST (1342 GMT), putting the contract on track for its highest close since Nov. 7.
    That also put the front-month on track to rise for a fourth day in a row for the first time since
September.
    Gas futures are up about 59% so far this year as much higher global gas prices feed demand for U.S.
exports due to supply disruptions and sanctions linked to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
    Gas was trading at $33 per mmBtu at the Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF) in Europe and $26
at the Japan Korea Marker (JKM) in Asia.
    Once the 2.1 billion-cubic-feet-per-day (bcfd) Freeport facility restarts, analysts expect U.S. gas prices
to rise due to increased demand from the country's LNG export plants.
    But until Freeport restarts, there will be less U.S. gas available to export to Europe, where
prices have risen around 11% so far this week. Europe needs U.S. gas because Russia has slashed its exports
after several European countries imposed sanctions on Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.
                                              Week ended     Week ended     Year ago   Five-year
                                                Nov 11          Nov 4        Nov 11     average
                                              (Forecast)      (Actual)                   Nov 11
 U.S. weekly natgas storage change (bcf):         +63            +79          +23          -5
 U.S. total natgas in storage (bcf):             3,643          3,580        3,640       3,651
 U.S. total storage versus 5-year average        -0.2%          -2.1%


 Global Gas Benchmark Futures ($ per mmBtu)   Current Day     Prior Day    This Month  Prior Year   Five Year
                                                                           Last Year    Average      Average
                                                                                          2021     (2017-2021)
 Henry Hub                                       6.37           6.20          5.12        3.73        2.89
 Title Transfer Facility (TTF)                   33.30          35.33        27.71       16.04        7.49
 Japan Korea Marker (JKM)                        25.89          27.79        32.98       18.00        8.95


 Refinitiv Heating (HDD), Cooling (CDD) and Total (TDD) Degree Days
 Two-Week Total Forecast                      Current Day     Prior Day    Prior Year   10-Year      30-Year
                                                                                          Norm        Norm
 U.S. GFS HDDs                                    350            353          304         296          314
 U.S. GFS CDDs                                     4              5            8           11           8
 U.S. GFS TDDs                                    354            358          312         307          322

 Refinitiv U.S. Weekly GFS Supply and Demand Forecasts
                                              Prior Week    Current Week   Next Week   This Week    Five-Year
                                                                                       Last Year   Average For
                                                                                                     Month
 U.S. Supply (bcfd)
 U.S. Lower 48 Dry Production                    98.8           99.9         100.3        95.3        89.6
 U.S. Imports from Canada                         6.2            8.6          8.2         8.8          8.2
 U.S. LNG Imports                                 0.0            0.0          0.0         0.0          0.1
 Total U.S. Supply                               105.0          108.5        108.5       104.1        97.9

 U.S. Demand (bcfd)
 U.S. Exports to Canada                           2.3            2.2          2.2         3.3          2.9
 U.S. Exports to Mexico                           5.8            5.6          5.6         5.5          5.1
 U.S. LNG Exports                                11.5           12.2          12.6        11.3         6.4
 U.S. Commercial                                  8.5           14.2          15.7        12.0        11.5
 U.S. Residential                                11.6           23.1          25.6        18.2        17.2
 U.S. Power Plant                                29.1           32.0          30.8        27.4        26.0
 U.S. Industrial                                 22.6           25.2          25.4        23.4        24.0
 U.S. Plant Fuel                                  4.9            4.9          5.0         4.9          4.9
 U.S. Pipe Distribution                           2.1            2.7          2.8         2.7          2.1
 U.S. Vehicle Fuel                                0.1            0.1          0.1         0.1          0.1
 Total U.S. Consumption                          78.9           102.3        105.4        88.7        85.8
 Total U.S. Demand                               98.4           122.3        125.9       108.8        100.2


 U.S. weekly power generation percent by fuel - EIA
                                              Week ended     Week ended    Week ended  Week ended  Week ended
                                                Nov 18         Nov 11        Nov 4       Oct 28      Oct 21
 Wind                                              9             15            12          15          11
 Solar                                             3              3            3           3            3
 Hydro                                             7              6            5           5            5
 Other                                             2              3            2           2            3
 Petroleum                                         0              0            0           0            0
 Natural Gas                                      41             38            39          37          39
 Coal                                             17             16            18          18          19
 Nuclear                                          21             20            20          19          19


 SNL U.S. Natural Gas Next-Day Prices ($ per mmBtu)
 Hub                                          Current Day     Prior Day
 Henry Hub 5.88           5.90
 Transco Z6 New York 7.57           6.50
 PG&E Citygate 8.31           9.05
 Dominion South 5.30           5.34
 Chicago Citygate 5.71           5.94
 Algonquin Citygate 5.60           6.46
 SoCal Citygate 8.32           8.95
 Waha Hub 5.06           5.35
 AECO 4.50           4.97

 SNL U.S. Power Next-Day Prices ($ per megawatt-hour)
 Hub                                          Current Day     Prior Day
 New England 72.25          64.00
 PJM West 80.75          78.25
 Ercot North 52.00          75.00
 Mid C 95.50          99.50
 Palo Verde 82.75          84.75
 SP-15 82.50          85.00
 (Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Paul Simao)



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