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UPDATE 2-U.S. natgas holds near 20-month high on small storage build, rising LNG exports

 (Adds latest prices)
    Oct 22 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures traded within a few cents of a 20-month high on
Thursday on a slightly smaller than expected weekly storage build and as liquefied natural gas (LNG)
exports keep rising.
    Gas prices have also soared in recent days as output slowed and on forecasts for colder weather and
higher heating demand over the next two weeks.
    The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said U.S. utilities injected 49 billion cubic feet
(bcf) of gas into storage in the week ended Oct. 16.
    That was slightly lower than the 52-bcf build analysts forecast in a Reuters poll and compares with
an increase of 92 bcf during the same week last year and a five-year (2015-19) average build of 75 bcf.

    The increase boosted stockpiles to 3.926 trillion cubic feet (tcf), 9.1% above the five-year
average of 3.599 tcf for this time of year and keeps overall inventories on track to get close to a
record high over 4.0 tcf by the end of October.
    Front-month gas futures fell 1.6 cents, or 0.5%, to settle at $3.007 per million British
thermal units (mmBtu). On Wednesday, the contract closed at its highest since January 2019, putting it
up about 68% from a recent low of $1.795 on Sept. 21.
    Data provider Refinitiv said output in the Lower 48 U.S. states averaged 86.3 billion cubic feet
per day (bcfd) so far in October. That would be the lowest in a month since September 2018 and puts
output on track to drop for a fourth month in a row for the first time since June 2016, according to
Refinitiv and federal energy data. Output hit an all-time high of 95.4 bcfd in November 2019.
    As LNG exports rise and the weather turns colder, Refinitiv projected average demand would jump
from 90.0 bcfd this week to 98.2 bcfd next week.
    The amount of gas flowing to LNG export plants has averaged 7.1 bcfd so far in October, up from 5.7
bcfd in September.
    That would be the most in a month since April and puts exports on track to rise for a third month
in a row for the first time since February when feedgas hit a record 8.7 bcfd as rising global gas
prices prompt buyers to reverse cargo cancellations.
    Gas benchmarks in Europe and Asia traded their highest since November 2019 and
October 2019, respectively, putting both more than $2/mmBtu over the U.S. Henry Hub.
        
                                       Week ended     Week ended    Year ago   Five-year   
                                         Oct 16        Oct 9         Oct 16     average    
                                        (Actual)       (Actual)                  Oct 16    
 U.S. natgas storage (bcf):                +49           +46          +92         +75 Refinitiv Heating (HDD), Cooling (CDD) and Total (TDD) Degree Days                        
 Two-Week Total Forecast               Current Day    Prior Day    Prior Year   10-Year    30-Year Norm
                                                                                  Norm     
 U.S. GFS HDDs                             213           210          173         145          185
 U.S. GFS CDDs                             29             33           28          31           26
 U.S. GFS TDDs                             242           243          201         176          211
                                                                                           
 Refinitiv U.S. Weekly GFS Supply and Demand Forecasts                                     
                                       Prior Week    Current Week  Next Week   This Week    Five-Year
                                                                               Last Year   Average For
                                                                                              Month
 U.S. Supply (bcfd)
 U.S. Lower 48 Dry Production             84.7           88.3         88.1        95.7         80.1
 U.S. Imports from Canada                  6.2           5.9          6.1         7.4          7.6
 U.S. LNG Imports                          0.0           0.0          0.0         0.0          0.2
 Total U.S. Supply                        90.9           94.1         94.3       103.1         87.9
 
 U.S. Demand (bcfd)
 U.S. Exports to Canada                    2.2           2.3          2.3         2.4          1.9
 U.S. Exports to Mexico                    6.2           6.1          6.0         5.4          4.5
 U.S. LNG Exports                          6.5           7.7          8.6         6.9          2.3
 U.S. Commercial                           5.8           7.1          9.4         7.5          6.7
 U.S. Residential                          5.6           8.2          12.8        9.2          7.0
 U.S. Power Plant                         30.9           29.5         28.7        28.8         26.8
 U.S. Industrial                          21.9           22.6         23.7        22.1         21.0
 U.S. Plant Fuel                           4.2           4.4          4.4         4.3          4.3
 U.S. Pipe Distribution                    1.9           2.0          2.2         2.0          1.8
 U.S. Vehicle Fuel                         0.1           0.1          0.1         0.1          0.1
 Total U.S. Consumption                   70.4           73.9         81.3        74.0         67.7
 Total U.S. Demand                        85.2           90.0         98.2        88.7         76.4 SNL U.S. Natural Gas Next-Day Prices ($ per mmBtu)                                        
 Hub                                   Current Day    Prior Day                            
 Henry Hub NG-W-HH-SNL                  2.95           2.57                              
 Transco Z6 New York NG-CG-NY-SNL       0.90           1.48                              
 PG&E Citygate NG-CG-PGE-SNL            4.24           4.22                              
 Dominion South NG-PCN-APP-SNL          0.73           1.31                              
 Chicago Citygate NG-CG-CH-SNL          2.71           2.72                              
 Algonquin Citygate NG-CG-BS-SNL        1.12           2.07                              
 SoCal Citygate NG-SCL-CGT-SNL          4.38           4.68                              
 Waha Hub NG-WAH-WTX-SNL                1.07           0.62 SNL U.S. Power Next-Day Prices ($ per megawatt-hour)                                      
 Hub                                   Current Day    Prior Day                            
 New England EL-PK-NPMS-SNL             30.50         32.25                              
 PJM West EL-PK-PJMW-SNL                29.08         21.50                              
 Ercot North EL-PK-ERTN-SNL             30.00         29.50                              
 Mid C EL-PK-MIDC-SNL                   50.42         29.13                              
 Palo Verde EL-PK-PLVD-SNL              45.50         45.88                              
 SP-15 EL-PK-SP15-SNL                   49.75         50.25                              
 
 (Reporting by Scott DiSavino
Editing by Nick Zieminski and David Gregorio)
  
 
 
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