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U.S. natgas futures rise on forecasts for cooler December weather

          Nov 29 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures edged up about 1% to near a one-week high on Tuesday on
forecasts for cooler weather through mid-December than previously expected.
    That price increase, however, was limited by forecasts for less gas demand over the next two weeks than
previously expected.
    In addition to colder weather, which will boost the amount of gas burned to heat homes and businesses,
energy traders noted gas demand would also rise in December if Freeport LNG's liquefied natural gas (LNG)
export plant in Texas returns to service, as expected.
    Freeport LNG has said it plans to start producing LNG again in mid-December and reach full capacity of
about 2.1 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) in March.
    The plant was shut on June 8 due to an explosion caused by inadequate operating and testing procedures,
human error and fatigue, according to a report by consultants hired by the company to review the incident and
propose corrective actions.
    JERA, which buys LNG from Freeport, said it expects the plant to return to service in December.
    Freeport LNG, however, has not yet submitted a request to restart the plant to the U.S. Department of
Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), sources familiar with the
company's filings have told Reuters.
    There are already a few ships waiting in the Gulf of Mexico to pick up LNG from Freeport - some have been
there for weeks - including Prism Brilliance, Prism Diversity and Prism Courage, according to shipping data
from Refinitiv.
    On its first day as the front-month, gas futures for January delivery was up 6.3 cents, or 0.9%,
from where the January contract was trading on Monday to $7.259 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) at
9:01 a.m. EST (1401 GMT) on Tuesday, putting the contract on track for its highest close since Nov. 23.
    In the spot market, meanwhile, next-day gas prices at the PG&E Citygate in Northern
California rose to their highest since February 2019 for a third day in a row.
    U.S. gas futures are up about 95% so far this year as much higher global prices feed demand for U.S.
exports due to supply disruptions and sanctions linked to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
    Gas was trading at $39 per mmBtu at the Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF) in Europe and $30
at the Japan Korea Marker (JKM) in Asia.
    TOP PRODUCER
    U.S. gas futures lag global prices because the United States is the world's top producer with all the fuel
it needs for domestic use, while capacity constraints and the Freeport outage have prevented the country from
exporting more LNG.
    Data provider Refinitiv said average gas output in the U.S. Lower 48 states has risen to 99.6 bcfd so far
in November, up from a monthly record 99.4 bcfd in October.
    With colder weather coming, Refinitiv projected average U.S. gas demand, including exports, would jump from
115.1 bcfd this week to 126.1 bcfd next week. Those forecasts were lower than Refinitiv's outlook on Monday.
    The average amount of gas flowing to U.S. LNG export plants has jumped to 11.7 bcfd so far in November, up
from 11.3 bcfd in October.
    That is still well below the monthly record of 12.9 bcfd in March due mostly to the ongoing outage at
Freeport. The seven big U.S. export plants can turn about 13.8 bcfd of gas into LNG.
    During the first 10 months of 2022, roughly 66%, or 7.0 bcfd, of U.S. LNG exports went to Europe, as
shippers diverted cargoes from Asia to get higher prices. Last year, just 29%, or about 2.8 bcfd, of U.S. LNG
exports went to Europe.
                                              Week ended     Week ended     Year ago    Five-year
                                                Nov 25         Nov 18        Nov 25      average
                                              (Forecast)      (Actual)                    Nov 25
 U.S. weekly natgas storage change (bcf):        -103            -80           -54         -34
 U.S. total natgas in storage (bcf):             3,461          3,564         3,572       3,569
 U.S. total storage versus 5-year average        -3.0%          -1.1%


 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                                       7.28           7.20          5.12         3.73        2.89
 Title Transfer Facility (TTF)                   39.61          37.26         27.71       16.04        7.49
 Japan Korea Marker (JKM)                        30.28          29.96         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                                    410            404           305         347          366
 U.S. GFS CDDs                                     8              8             8           6            5
 U.S. GFS TDDs                                    418            408           313         353          371

 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                    100.1          100.3         100.8        96.3        89.6
 U.S. Imports from Canada                        91.5            8.6           9.2         9.5          8.2
 U.S. LNG Imports                                 0.0            0.0           0.0         0.0          0.1
 Total U.S. Supply                               109.2          108.9         110.1       105.8        97.9

 U.S. Demand (bcfd)
 U.S. Exports to Canada                           3.3            3.5           3.6         3.4          2.9
 U.S. Exports to Mexico                           5.3            5.6           5.5         5.8          5.1
 U.S. LNG Exports                                12.0           11.3          11.7         11.8         6.4
 U.S. Commercial                                 15.4           13.6          15.8         12.7        11.5
 U.S. Residential                                25.3           22.2          26.8         19.5        17.2
 U.S. Power Plant                                31.4           26.7          29.5         28.5        26.0
 U.S. Industrial                                 25.3           24.5          25.3         23.5        24.0
 U.S. Plant Fuel                                  4.9            5.0           5.0         5.0          4.9
 U.S. Pipe Distribution                           2.8            2.5           2.8         2.5          2.1
 U.S. Vehicle Fuel                                0.1            0.1           0.1         0.1          0.1
 Total U.S. Consumption                          105.2          94.6          105.3        91.8        85.8
 Total U.S. Demand                               125.8          115.1         126.1       112.8        100.2


 U.S. weekly power generation percent by fuel - EIA
                                              Week ended     Week ended    Week ended   Week ended  Week ended
                                                 Dec 2         Nov 25        Nov 18       Nov 11       Nov 4
 Wind                                             13              9             9           15          12
 Solar                                             2              2             3           3            3
 Hydro                                             6              6             7           6            5
 Other                                             2              2             2           3            2
 Petroleum                                         0              0             0           0            0
 Natural Gas                                      33             39            41           38          39
 Coal                                             20             20            18           16          18
 Nuclear                                          23             20            20           20          20


 SNL U.S. Natural Gas Next-Day Prices ($ per mmBtu)
 Hub                                          Current Day     Prior Day
 Henry Hub 6.00           6.57
 Transco Z6 New York 5.45           6.10
 PG&E Citygate 12.67          12.21
 Dominion South 5.19           5.82
 Chicago Citygate 5.36           6.15
 Algonquin Citygate 5.79           6.87
 SoCal Citygate 11.08          10.58
 Waha Hub 5.21           5.50
 AECO 4.94           6.65

 SNL U.S. Power Next-Day Prices ($ per megawatt-hour)
 Hub                                          Current Day     Prior Day
 New England 73.75          76.50
 PJM West 54.50          49.50
 Ercot North 45.50          41.50
 Mid C 162.62          85.00
 Palo Verde 110.75          50.50
 SP-15 117.25          95.50
 (Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Paul Simao)



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