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Copper Tip Energy Services
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Copper Tip Energy

U.S. Natgas Futures Rebound Ahead of March Contract Expiry

These translations are done via Google Translate

U.S. natural gas futures gained more than 6% on Monday, ahead of the expiration of the March contract, in a technical rebound following a sharp retreat in the last two sessions.

Front-month gas futures were down 7.5% or 12.9 cents to settle at $1.603 per million British thermal units. The March contract is set to expire on Tuesday.

The market seems to have found a bottom, with the “negative news experienced most of the winter, with low demand, (having) run its course at this point,” said Gary Cunningham, director of market research at Tradition Energy.

“Now we’re looking forward to where do we go from here and that’s where you’re starting to see those CapEx cuts have a bigger impact and a return to more normal weather patterns for the summer.”

On Wednesday, prices soared about 13% after Chesapeake Energy, soon to be the biggest U.S. gas producer after its merger with Southwestern Energy, cut planned production for 2024 by roughly 30% after a recent plunge in prices to a 3-1/2 year low.

Natural gas prices have plunged 32% so far this year, hurt by a mild winter that has left stockpiles well above normal, while output remained near record levels despite an Arctic freeze in January that briefly cut output and sent gas demand to a record high.

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Financial company LSEG said gas output in the U.S. Lower 48 states has risen to an average of 105.5 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) so far in February from 102.1 bcfd in January, still shy of the monthly record of 106.3 bcfd in December.

“Production curtailments may prove capable of placing a bottom in this market within the next few weeks, but we still see April futures drafting back down to about the $1.60 level, the low established just prior to the announced production cuts,” energy advisory Ritterbusch and Associates said in a note.

QatarEnergy chief Saad al-Kaabi said on Sunday a new expansion of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) production will add 16 million metric tons per year to its expansion plans, bringing total capacity to 142 million tons per year (tpy).

The European benchmark wholesale gas price also declined, remaining near its lowest level in around three years, as weak demand and high storage inventories outweighed cold weather forecasts and lower renewables output.

(Reporting by Ashitha Shivaprasad and Anjana Anil in Bengaluru; Editing by David Evans)

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