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U.S. natgas gains 4% on colder forecast, expected Freeport LNG return

          Nov 21 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures gained about 4% to a two-week high on Monday on forecasts
for colder weather and stronger heating demand this week than previously expected.
    Traders also noted the expected restart of the 2.1-billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) Freeport LNG's
liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plant in Texas in mid December, if it happens, would boost demand for gas
in coming weeks. The plant shut six months ago after a fire.
    One factor weighing on futures prices, however, were forecasts for less cold weather in early December
that will cut heating demand next week below what was previously expected.
    Freeport LNG said last week that the company would not meet its previously announced November restart
target for its export plant and was now projecting a mid-December restart, if regulators approve.
    Even though the delayed Freeport restart caused one LNG vessel - LNG Rosenrot - to turn away from the
plant last week, several other ships have remained near the facility - some for weeks - including Prism
Brilliance, Prism Diversity and Prism Courage. In addition, the Prism Agility was expected to arrive at the
plant site in a few days, according to ship tracking data from Refinitiv.
    In other LNG news, the Cadiz Knutsen was sitting in Boston Harbor outside the Everett LNG terminal in
Massachusetts with a cargo of the super-cooled fuel from Trinidad. That would be the first LNG vessel to visit
Everett since August, according to Refinitiv data.
    But with Everett competing with European buyers willing to pay around $35 per million British thermal
units (mmBtu) for gas versus just $6 in the United States, the Massachusetts port has imported only 16.7
billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas as LNG during the first 10 months of this year. That is down from 18.1 bcf
during the same period in 2021 and a five-year (2017-2021) average of 33.3 bcf, according to federal energy
data.
    New England depends on LNG and oil to fuel some power plants on the coldest days when most of the region's
pipeline gas is being used to heat homes and businesses. About half of the power generated in New England
comes from gas-fired plants.
    Front-month gas futures for December delivery rose 27.3 cents, or 4.3%, to $6.576 per mmBtu at 9:29
a.m. EST (1429 GMT), putting the contract on track for its highest close since Nov. 7.
    Speculators cut their net short futures and options positions on the New York Mercantile and
Intercontinental Exchanges for a third week in a row to their lowest since September, according to the U.S.
Commodity Futures Trading Commission's Commitments of Traders report. That was the first time speculators cut
their short positions for three weeks in a row since April.
    The premium of futures for January over December , meanwhile, was on track to close at a record
high for a second day in a row as some in the market started to give up on the prospect of extreme cold in
December.
    Gas futures were up about 73% 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 $35 per mmBtu at the Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF) in Europe and $26
at the Japan Korea Marker (JKM) in Asia.
    With the coming of less cold weather, Refinitiv projected average U.S. gas demand, including exports,
would drop from 126.2 bcfd this week to 115.2 bcfd next week. The forecasts for this week was higher than
Refinitiv's outlook on Friday, while its forecast for next week was lower.
                                              Week ended     Week ended     Year ago   Five-year
                                                Nov 18         Nov 11        Nov 18     average
                                              (Forecast)      (Actual)                   Nov 18
 U.S. weekly natgas storage change (bcf):         -77            +64          -14         -48
 U.S. total natgas in storage (bcf):             3,567          3,644        3,626       3,603
 U.S. total storage versus 5-year average        -1.0%          -0.2%


 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                                       6.32           6.30          5.12        3.73        2.89
 Title Transfer Facility (TTF)                   34.88          32.92        27.71       16.04        7.49
 Japan Korea Marker (JKM)                        26.39          26.32        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                                    319            340          298         323          332
 U.S. GFS CDDs                                     5              4            5           8            7
 U.S. GFS TDDs                                    324            344          303         331          339

 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                    100.0          99.7         100.0        96.8        89.6
 U.S. Imports from Canada                        68.6            9.2          8.5         9.3          8.2
 U.S. LNG Imports                                 0.0            0.0          0.0         0.1          0.1
 Total U.S. Supply                               108.6          108.9        108.5       106.2        97.9

 U.S. Demand (bcfd)
 U.S. Exports to Canada                           2.2            3.0          2.8         3.1          2.9
 U.S. Exports to Mexico                           5.5            5.3          5.5         5.4          5.1
 U.S. LNG Exports                                12.1           12.4          12.7        11.7         6.4
 U.S. Commercial                                 14.2           15.4          12.9        13.6        11.5
 U.S. Residential                                23.1           25.4          20.5        21.5        17.2
 U.S. Power Plant                                32.2           31.5          29.0        26.7        26.0
 U.S. Industrial                                 25.2           25.3          24.3        23.9        24.0
 U.S. Plant Fuel                                  4.9            4.9          4.9         4.9          4.9
 U.S. Pipe Distribution                           2.7            2.8          2.5         2.8          2.1
 U.S. Vehicle Fuel                                0.1            0.1          0.1         0.1          0.1
 Total U.S. Consumption                          102.6          105.5         94.2        93.5        85.8
 Total U.S. Demand                               122.4          126.2        115.2       113.7        100.2


 U.S. weekly power generation percent by fuel - EIA
                                              Week ended     Week ended    Week ended  Week ended  Week ended
                                                Nov 25         Nov 18        Nov 11      Nov 4       Oct 28
 Wind                                              9             95            15          12          15
 Solar                                             3              3            3           3            3
 Hydro                                             6              7            6           5            5
 Other                                             2              2            3           2            2
 Petroleum                                         0              0            0           0            0
 Natural Gas                                      40             41            38          39          37
 Coal                                             19             18            16          18          18
 Nuclear                                          20             20            20          20          19


 SNL U.S. Natural Gas Next-Day Prices ($ per mmBtu)
 Hub                                          Current Day     Prior Day
 Henry Hub 6.10           6.20
 Transco Z6 New York 8.08           7.20
 PG&E Citygate 8.71           8.80
 Dominion South 5.78           5.83
 Chicago Citygate 5.93           6.24
 Algonquin Citygate 11.25          8.16
 SoCal Citygate 8.54           8.64
 Waha Hub 5.47           4.97
 AECO 4.91           4.96

 SNL U.S. Power Next-Day Prices ($ per megawatt-hour)
 Hub                                          Current Day     Prior Day
 New England 87.50          78.50
 PJM West 68.50          81.75
 Ercot North 76.00          50.00
 Mid C 81.25          89.00
 Palo Verde 62.75          84.50
 SP-15 64.25          84.75
 (Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Andrea Ricci)



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