| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Jan 6 Natural gas prices for next-day
delivery in the U.S. Northeast were set to hit their highest
level in a decade on Monday, as an arctic freeze gripped the
The coldest weather in almost two decades descended on the
eastern two-thirds of the country and was expected to continue
until midweek, according to the National Weather Service,
boosting heating demand in homes and businesses.
In the ICE cash market, prices for Tuesday delivery on the
Transco pipeline at the New York citygate E-TSCO6NY-IDX traded
as high as $55 on high demand in the Northeast. The average
trade was $44.20, up $30.59 from Friday, the highest level since
2004, according to Reuters data.
At Henry Hub GT-HH-IDX, the benchmark supply point in
Louisiana, rose 15 cents to $4.494, with early trade
differentials at a 17-cent premium over NYMEX, strengthening
over Friday's premium of less than 1 cent.
U.S. natural gas futures inched higher on Monday, but gains
were tempered by longer-term forecasts for milder weather.
Private forecaster MDA Weather Services scaled back its
previous forecast, which had called for a longer period of
intense cold. MDA now predicts warmer-than-average temperatures
in the six- to 10-day range.
Front-month February gas futures on the New York Mercantile
Exchange, rose 3.8 cents to $4.342 per million British
thermal units at 10:20 a.m. EST (1520 GMT), rebounding from
slight losses earlier.
Last week's natural gas storage report revealed that stocks
fell by 97 billion cubic feet during the week ending Dec. 27,
according to data from the Energy Information Administration
released Friday morning, smaller than the draw of 126 bcf
forecast in a Reuters poll.
Heavier drawdowns are predicted for the two weeks ending on
Jan. 10, Richard Hastings, a strategist at Global Hunter
Securities, said in a report on Monday. Hastings put the
drawdown at up to 430 bcf over the 14-day period.
Nuclear plant outages on Monday totaled 1,860 megawatts, or
about 2 percent of U.S. capacity. That was up from Friday's
total of 1,540 MW, but below the 9,700 MW out a year ago and the
five-year average outage rate of 5,180 MW.
(Reporting by Julia Edwards; Editing by Edward McAllister and