Into The Vortex – EIA Reports Build of 26Bcf in Natural Gas Storage

With a tightening backdrop in the natural gas market, unrelenting export demand and its impact on domestic supplies futures and basis gas prices continue to be elevated. Last week EIA reported a higher-than-expected build of 26 Bcf of working gas in storage. With the global energy crisis LNG exports continue to grow but we balance supply shortages with deliverability. Volatility continues as US prices have been fluctuating between domestic weather and European supply concerns with geopolitical concerns supporting gains in natural gas prices with Europe’s dependence on Russian gas.

Into The Vortex Contents

Click on the links below to navigate to the relevant section.

  1. EIA Natural Gas Storage Forecast and Analysis
  2. Natural Gas Quick Summary
  3. Rig Watch
  4. Weather
  5. LNG and Export Watch
  6. Natural Gas Import Watch
  7. Natural Gas Demand Watch
  8. Nuke Watch
  9. Natural Gas Futures Technical Analysis
  10. Option Volatility and Gamma
  11. DCOT Report

EIA Weekly Storage Report

  • Report Date:3/3/2022 Via TradersCommunity.com
  • Release Time: Thursday 3/10/2022 10:30 a.m. ET
  • Market Expectations
  • Actual +26 Bcf Prior -51 Bcf
  • Consensus Forecast +22 Bcf
  • Cons. Range +18 to 32 Bcf
  • Last Year:
  • 5 Year Average:

With “healthy corrections’ not withstanding we have seen mostly steady gains in the natural gas market since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine one month ago. Benchmark Henry Hub prices are well above the $5.000/MMBtu mark for April, traditionally a month in which prices sell off as temperatures warm. In addition to the Ukraine factor weather also has been supportive of prices as models continue to reflect periods of brisk temperatures that could keep demand elevated longer into the spring season.

US Natural Gas Storage Stage

Summary

Working gas in storage was 1,415 Bcf as of Friday, March 25, 2022, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net increase of 26 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 347 Bcf less than last year at this time and 244 Bcf below the five-year average of 1,659 Bcf. At 1,415 Bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.

Last Week’s Report -79 Bcf #TCNG

Bespoke forecast a pull of 67 Bcf with the next EIA report, followed by a 45 Bcf decrease the week after. For the final week of March, the firm expects an injection of 4 Bcf.

Broken down by region

  • South Central region +22 Bcf increase +8 Bcf in nonsalt facilities and +13 Bcf in salts
  • Midwest -1 Bcf decrease
  • East 0 Bcf decrease
  • Mountain +2 Bcf increase
  • Pacific +4 Bcf increase

Current Storage Level vs. Last Year; 5-Yr

  • Current Storage Level: 1415 Bcf
  • Storage 2020/Same Week:  1,762 Bcf
  • 5Yr Avg/Same Week: 1,659 Bcf
EIA Storage Report
us natgasl locations

via Brynne Kelly @BrynneKKelly


Global Natural Gas Quick Overview


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Via Ole S Hansen @Ole_S_Hansen

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Natural Gas Market Price Influence Factors

Bearish Factors Include

  • Economic damage and reduced natural gas demand caused by the Covid pandemic,
  • Warm U.S. winter that resulted in weak demand for natural gas for heating.
  • Over long spec positions
  • Expectations that the high level of oil prices would increase shale drilling and natural gas extraction as a by-product

Bullish Factors Include

  • Record foreign demand for U.S. nat-gas as flows to U.S LNG export terminals on April 18 rose to a record 11.921 bcf (data from 2014) and after U.S. LNG exporters loaded a record 81 cargoes in November, breaking the previous record of 75 set January of 2020,
  • Expectations that the low level of oil prices will reduce shale drilling and natural gas extraction as a by-product
  • Tighter U.S. nat-gas supplies that are down -14.8% y/y and -2.6% below their 5-year average.
  • High power burns
  • Perception that gas supply and demand are more inelastic than ever before.
  • Over short spec positions

Rig Watch 

Baker Hughes active rigs total in the U.S. onshore and Gulf of Mexico (GOM)

  • US Baker Hughes Rig Count 01-Apr: 673 (est 674; prev 670)
  • – Rotary Gas Rigs: 138 (est 138; prev 137)
  • – Rotary Oil Rigs: 533 (est 535; prev 531)

US Oil Rigs w/w changes by key shale basins

  • Permian +4 to 322
  • Eagle Ford -1 to 47
  • Williston -1 to 32
  • Cana Woodford +1 to 25
  • DJ Niobrara unchanged at 14

Canada Rigs

  • Canada averaged 128 active drilling rigs this week according to data from the Canadian Association of Energy Contractors. Of those rigs, 35% are drilling for natural gas, 56% are drilling for oil, 3% for other (helium, hydrogen, geothermal, or potash), and 6% are moving.
  • Drilling activity by province is 88% in Alberta, 2% in Saskatchewan, 4% in BC, and 6% elsewhere.
  • Precision Drilling holds the majority of the Canadian market share with 36%, Ensign Drilling with 23%, Savanna Drilling with 10%, Horizon Drilling with 7%, Akita Drilling with 6%, and Bonanza Drilling with 5%. View a full breakdown of Western Canada’s rig activity via Camtrader

“Rig activity…would need to increase by about 36 weekly through year-end to reach a sustainable plateau to hold current oil volumes in 2022.” –Mizuho via Reuters 12/17/21

Comments by executives of multi-basin super independent EOG Resources Inc. mirrored those for many Lower 48 management teams.

“We’re not going to grow until the market clearly needs the barrels,” EOG President Ezra Yacob told analysts during a call Thursday. “We’re committed to staying disciplined. Currently, we want to see demand return to pre-Covid levels.”


Talking About The Weather

Gulf of Mexico

Gulf of Mexico Live Weather Report

European Energy Crisis

The energy crisis pounding the world with unheard of prices was impacting the domestic pricing. In Europe we are seeing up near record highs again. U.S. fundamentals only have the domestic gas market in bear territory with mild weather and low demand.

The EU also is considering requiring natural gas storage facilities to be filled at least 80% capacity for next winter. Given that European supplies are below historic averages coming out of winter, this would almost certainly keep demand for U.S. LNG elevated through 2022.

Europe’s dependence on Russia’s gas in one map via @michaeltanchum

Back to the panic levels of October.

  • Dutch TTF natural gas closes at €105.77 per MWh (**3rd highest ever settlement**).
  • UK NBP closes at 268.80p per therm (3rd highest too).
  • European gas inventories have fallen to a level typical of mid-January
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In the EU markets the energy crisis is deepening with prices soaring with an unplanned outage cutting supplies from the giant Troll field in Norway. Coming on top of geopolitical worries, freezing cold weather and dwindling stocks. Emissions trades up to compensate for higher coal demand

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La Nina

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U.S. Climate Prediction Center said Thursday there is a 53% chance that La Nina conditions could persist through the summer and a 45% chance of those conditions carrying into next fall.  

This raises the likelihood of Atlantic hurricanes, which could disrupt natural gas operations on the Gulf Coast late in the summer and early fall. La Nina conditions tend to allow more tropical systems to strengthen into hurricanes, the forecaster said. 

The phenomenon begins when the atmosphere reacts to a cooler patch of water over the Pacific Ocean.

Paths of Recent Gulf Hurricanes

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Technical Analysis via KnovaWave 

Henry Hub Natural Gas Futures Weekly Chart Outlook via @KnovaWave

Daily: US Natural Gas completed 3 waves correcting the daily 8/8 spit correction to 7/8. This was in turn correcting the daily 8/8 spit after a classic euphoria wave 5.Two clear alternatives, we are correcting the highs 5 or that was a 3 and we go higher. We closed right at the Tenkan which is our pivot next week. Meaning that 3 was either an a i or iv– impulse in a nutshell.

The Cloud top after broke Kijun and Tenkan with a kiss of life. Meaning that 3 was either an a i or iv– impulse in a nutshell. Prior to this move the adjunct failure of the 50dma and Tenkan opened up the retest of 3.80-3.60 last time which fueled this week’s move higher. From there we fell sharply to the Kijun, A completion of 4 (bear) or (i) of 5 (bull)

Notice the fractals of the move after completing the C of 4 bullish scenario played out the consolidation phase since it completed its IV (Bull Case) last year since then a series of 3 waves. For the bulls all this needs to hold for the highs to be a (iii) looking at possibilities we have the 161.8% at 7.026 if we get ‘silly’ 50dma support.

Like the larger wave on the way up it accelerated through previous highs (flat topped triangle energy) and over the resistance at 8/8 and new highs. We successfully tested that break in a pennant ABC. Previous highs (flat topped triangle energy) and 8/8 and new highs underscore the structure that fed the move and is key longer term. 

Weekly:  Another sharp reversal, like the previous impulsive spikes. We saw a false break of the Kijun to close back at the Tenkan. This move isa fractal of the classic double top playing out after a spit of the weekly Kijun was sent back off Tenkan only to reverse all the way to spit the 50wma for the energy needed. Resistance is Kijun and Murrey Grid. The Natural gas rebalanced after continued to fail and retrace with impulse after reaching its major target, the double top potential from 2014 which equated nicely to over 8/8 Weekly and showed true impulse off that to rebalance Chikou. It’s now a question of degree, 3 or 5? Impulse just shy of the 8/8 and Tenkan confluence. A question of continuation with the 50wma as resistance and cloud as support.

Natural gas futures Weekly
NG W 10 8 2021 2014 2021 double top

  Natural Gas Production

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EIA forecast in Feb 17 STEO U.S. natural gas marketed production will increase to an average of 104.4 billion cubic feet per day in 2022 and then to a record-high 106.6 billion cubic feet per day in 2023.

Around 97% of production over the next two years will come from the Lower 48 states (L48), excluding the Federal Offshore Gulf of Mexico (GOM). The other 3% will come from Alaska and the GOM.

U.S. natural gas production growth will primarily come from the Appalachia region in the Northeast, the Permian region in western Texas and southeastern New Mexico, and the Haynesville region in Texas and Louisiana. EIA forecast that the Permian region will contribute 2.2 Bcf/d to production growth in 2022 and 1.2 Bcf/d in 2023.

Natural Gas Exports Watch

Some US LNG export projects vying for FID:

  • > Corpus Christi Stage 3 — 10mtpa (mostly contracted)
  • > Plaquemines — 10mtpa (mostly contracted)
  • > Driftwood — 11mtpa (mostly contracted)
  • > Cameron T4 — 6mtpa
  • > Freeport T4 — 8.4mtpa
  • > Commonwealth — 8.4mtpa
  • > Rio Grande — 11mtpa
  • via Stephen Stapczynski @SStapczynski

On Friday March 25, 2022, from a EU/NATO meeting in Poland , the Biden administration and European Union (EU) leaders announced a new effort to ensure Western supplies of natural gas to the continent through 2022 and beyond. The United States and the EU now have a joint goal to send an additional 15 billion cubic meters of LNG to EU countries in 2022, about 1.5 Bcf/d, with “expected increases going forward,” according to the White House.

U.S. exporters have little room to ramp up more in the near term, and Western governments do not have the power to order private companies in the LNG market to direct shipments to Europe.

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LNG

Natural Gas feed to LNG facilities Sabine Pass, Cameron, Elba Island, Cove Point & Corpus Christi

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US Gulk Coast LNG Netbacks
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  ++Charts via RonH @RonH999 – Visit Ron for daily updates 

U.S. liquefied natural gas exports were at record high levels in the first half of 2021

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Natural Gas Mexican Exports Watch

via RonH Energy

US natural gas exports to Mexico established a new monthly record in June 2021 surpassing 7 Bcf/d from then March-to-date average exports to Mexico continued to be flat against the previous month, at barely 5.6 Bcf/d, according to Wood Mackenzie. In the preceding five years, the average February-to-March growth rate was slightly above 4%.

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Mexico pipeline exports

 

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Natural Gas Canada Import Watch

Source via RonH Energy

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Canadian imports

Natural Gas Demand Watch

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via RonH Data ‏@ronh999

Natural Gas Nuclear Power Watch

Source: via RonH Data ‏@ronh999

ALERT Three Mile Island nuclear shut down permanently on Friday afternoon 9/292019.

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Natural Gas Options Structure – Volatility (COT)

NYMEX ON NATURAL GAS OPTIONS CommodityVol.com @CommodityImpVol

NYMEX ON = NATURAL GAS OPTIONS (Live Link)

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Natural Gas Futures Commitment of Traders

 Disaggregated Commitment of Traders (DCOT) via RonH Data ‏@ronh999 @ole_s_hansen

Latest ICE and CFTC Open Interest Data: 

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Natural Gas DCOT futures only managed money traders WoW change

(Note at NG peak Highest Longs Ever 87% (since 2006) Lowest Longs 2020 24%)

  • For week ending March 22
  • Natural Gas DCOT futures only managed money traders 
  • WoW change +7,280 longs,
  • +166 shorts,
  • +7,114 net change,
  • 49.3% net long
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Understanding DCOT Reports 

Read Understanding Commitments of Traders Reports – COT, TFF and DCOT to help understand the disaggregated reports (DCOT) and how they break down the reportable open interest positions into four classifications:

1. Producer/Merchant/Processor/User 2. Swap Dealers 3. Managed Money 4. Other Reportables 

Sources: TradersCommunity, EIA, RonH Energy, The Fundamental Edge, KnovaWave

From The TradersCommunity US Research Desk