Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Natural Gas Going Higher Today

NEW YORK NEW YORK, Oct 28 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures were expected to open about 8 to 10 cents higher on Tuesday, edging up along with stronger cash gas and crude futures amid cooler weather in key consuming regions of the nation, traders said.

But while some traders remain concerned about continued shut-in Gulf of Mexico production from recent storms, others said ongoing fears of a global economic downturn and big gains in onshore production should limit the upside.

The U.S. Minerals Management Service said Thursday about 35 percent of offshore Gulf gas production was still shut in from hurricanes Gustav and Ike, down from about 37 percent shut in as of Tuesday's report.

The next MMS report will be released later Tuesday.

The cumulative total of offshore gas production cuts from both storms since Aug. 29 is near 247 billion cubic feet.

November over-the-counter trade was heard late near $6.185 to $6.19 per million British thermal units.

On Monday, front month November futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange, which expire Wednesday, fell 11.8 cents to settle at $6.121, pressured by growing supplies and worries over the severe economic slowdown curbing demand.

Early Monday, the November contract traded as low as $5.99, the lowest level for a front month contract since late September 2007, according to Reuters data.

In electronic trade, however, November futures traded late 7.1 cents higher at $6.192, after trading between $6.098 and $6.239.

NYMEX front month crude futures, meanwhile, were seen opening about $1.40 higher, under $65 a barrel.

In the cash market, gas for delivery at Henry Hub , the NYMEX delivery point in Louisiana, was heard near $6.41 on volume near 175 million cubic feet, up 14 cents from Monday's average of $6.27, its lowest level since late October 2007.

Early cash deals were heard at about a 19-cent premium to the front month contract, little changed from deals done late Monday at about a 23-cent premium.

Gas on the Transco pipeline at the New York city gate traded once at $7.65, up 50 cents from Monday's average of $7.15.

Temperatures in key gas consuming cities New York and Chicago were seen mixed, with New York below normal and Chicago mostly above normal for the next six days. High temperatures were seen mostly in the 50s degrees Fahrenheit in both cities, with lows dipping into the 30s F, according to forecaster DTN Meteorlogix.

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