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U.S. natgas futures up 8% on colder weather forecasts

       Nov 23 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures jumped about 8% to a two-month high on the Wednesday
before the Thanksgiving Day holiday on forecasts for much colder weather and higher heating demand over the
next two weeks than previously expected.
    Futures pared gains of over 11% earlier in the day after a federal report showed last week's storage draw
was slightly smaller than expected. That withdrawal, however, was still bigger than usual because
colder-than-normal weather last week boosted heating demand.
    With cold weather lingering across much of the country into this week, analysts said homes and businesses
have kept their heaters cranked up and next week's storage withdrawal will likely also be bigger than usual.
    Rapid price moves in recent weeks boosted the contract's 30-day implied volatility index to a
record high. Futures have gained or lost more than 5% during half of the trading days so far in November. The
market uses implied volatility to estimate likely price changes in the future.
    Analysts said the market could experience even more volatility on Friday when options for the December
contract expire on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX).
    "Big price volatility is now on tap as participation in the NYMEX futures market is becoming thinner and
will become even more thinned out due to the Thanksgiving holiday week ... things could get even crazier this
Friday on options expiry day," analysts at energy consulting firm Gelber & Associates told customers in a
    The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said utilities pulled 80 billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas
from storage during the week ended Nov. 18.  EIA released the report a day ahead of usual due to the
Thanksgiving Day holiday on Thursday.
    That was smaller than the 87-bcf withdrawal analysts forecast in a Reuters poll and compares with a
decrease of 14 bcf in the same week last year and a five-year (2017-2021) average decline of 48 bcf.
    Front-month gas futures for December delivery rose 52.9 cents, or 7.8%, to settle at $7.308 per
million British thermal units (mmBtu), their highest close since Sept. 21.
    That also put the front-month in technically overbought territory with a relative strength index (RSI)
over 70 for the first time since August.
    Also supporting futures were higher prices in global gas markets on threats Russia would cut all gas
exports to Europe and worries about a possible U.S. rail strike that could disrupt coal shipments to utilities
this winter, forcing power generators to burn more gas to produce electricity.
    In addition, the market still had questions about whether Freeport LNG will be able to restart its
liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plant in Texas in mid-December as planned.
    Freeport LNG has not yet submitted a full request to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and
Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to restart the export plant, according to sources familiar
with the company's filings.
    That matters because once the 2.1-billion-cubic-feet-per-day (bcfd) plant restarts it will consume U.S.
gas to turn it into LNG for export, boosting demand for gas at the same time that cold winter weather will
boost heating demand.
    After Freeport LNG delayed the plant's restart from November to December, at least one LNG vessel - LNG
Rosenrot - turned away from the facility last week. Another vessel, Prism Agility, which is near the Bahamas
and says it will arrive at Freeport in a few days, also seems to have turned away from the plant on Wednesday,
according to ship tracking data from Refinitiv.
    There are, however, a few ships still waiting to pick up a cargo near Freeport - some have been there for
weeks - including Prism Brilliance, Prism Diversity and Prism Courage.
                                              Week ended     Week ended     Year ago   Five-year
                                                Nov 18         Nov 11        Nov 18     average
                                               (Actual)       (Actual)                   Nov 18
 U.S. weekly natgas storage change (bcf):         -80            +64          -14         -48
 U.S. total natgas in storage (bcf):             3,564          3,644        3,626       3,603
 U.S. total storage versus 5-year average        -1.1%          -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                                       7.28           6.78          5.12        3.73        2.89
 Title Transfer Facility (TTF)                   37.36          37.59        27.71       16.04        7.49
 Japan Korea Marker (JKM)                        29.22          27.30        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                                    353            311          298         323          341
 U.S. GFS CDDs                                     7              9            5           8            7
 U.S. GFS TDDs                                    360            320          303         331          348

 Refinitiv U.S. Weekly GFS Supply and Demand Forecasts
                                              Prior Week    Current Week   Next Week   This Week    Five-Year
                                                                                       Last Year   Average For
 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          8.7         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        108.7       106.2        97.9

 U.S. Demand (bcfd)
 U.S. Exports to Canada                           2.2            3.2          3.1         3.1          2.9
 U.S. Exports to Mexico                           5.5            5.4          5.6         5.4          5.1
 U.S. LNG Exports                                12.1           12.2          12.4        11.7         6.4
 U.S. Commercial                                 14.2           15.3          13.3        13.6        11.5
 U.S. Residential                                23.1           25.3          21.5        21.5        17.2
 U.S. Power Plant                                32.2           31.9          29.1        26.7        26.0
 U.S. Industrial                                 25.2           25.3          24.4        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          2.6         2.8          2.1
 U.S. Vehicle Fuel                                0.1            0.1          0.1         0.1          0.1
 Total U.S. Consumption                          102.6          105.6         96.0        93.5        85.8
 Total U.S. Demand                               122.4          126.4        117.1       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              9            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                                      41             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 6.27           6.23
 Transco Z6 New York 5.92           6.80
 PG&E Citygate 10.99          9.72
 Dominion South 5.67           5.96
 Chicago Citygate 5.81           6.16
 Algonquin Citygate 8.40           10.72
 SoCal Citygate 10.50          9.38
 Waha Hub 5.04           4.85
 AECO 5.02           5.43

 SNL U.S. Power Next-Day Prices ($ per megawatt-hour)
 Hub                                          Current Day     Prior Day
 New England 82.25         120.75
 PJM West 58.00          65.50
 Ercot North 42.50          48.00
 Mid C 82.00          82.00
 Palo Verde 82.25          82.25
 SP-15 85.75          85.75
 (Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by David Gregorio and Mark Potter)

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