GAS PRICES: ABOVE $2.9
PLATTS - NYMEX September gas futures climbed 6.9 cents to $2.962/MMBtu as Monday's eclipse was projected to boost natural gas demand.
The September contract settled at $2.962/MMBtu, up 6.9 cents from Friday's close.
The price increase comes after a week where the NYMEX front-month contract dipped 9 cents over five trading sessions.
Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group, said the market could be seeing an "eclipse rally," as more gas was likely used for power generation as solar power was not available during the eclipse.
According to US Energy Information Administration data, solar photovoltaic capacity was expected to be affected by an estimated 8.8 GW in California, along with North Carolina seeing nearly 3 GW affected, possibly giving support to prices as gas was used to account for some of that missing power generation.
Any rise in gas demand could put increased pressure on national natural gas stocks, which currently sit 1.8% above the five-year-average, according to EIA data. Gene McGillian, manager of market research at Tradition Energy, said there are expectations that the storage build for the week ended August 18 will be below the five-year-average.
The jump in price goes against the grain of the most recent six- to 10-day outlook from the National Weather Service calling for a likelihood of cooler-than-average weather for the Northeast and Midcontinent.
Flynn said private meteorologist reports are conflicting, as some call for warmer-than-average weather heading into September, whereas others project possible frosts in some regions leading to "possible heating demand in September."
According to Platts Analytics' Bentek Energy data, US dry gas production is expected to dip 400 MMcf day on day to 72.5 Bcf/d, shy of the 73 Bcf/d month-to-date average.
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