Inside FERC December US national gas average up 56 cents to $3.08/MMBtu

Houston (Platts)--1 Dec 2017 533 pm EST/2233 GMT

US December monthly natural gas prices largely rose as the market moves into the heart of peak winter heating season, pushing regions such as the Northeast to December levels not seen since 2014.

Algonquin city-gates December jumped $3.15 to $5.80/MMBtu, up nearly 119% from November levels and one of the highest December levels since 2014, ushering in the upcoming winter at a high level.

The remainder of the Northeast rose as well, pushing the regional average to $4.27/MMBtu, up $1.72/MMBtu.

In the core of the Appalachian production basin, Dominion, Appalachia December movement was unfazed by numerous record output levels in recent months, soaring 93 cents to $2.50/MMBtu, nearly $1 above November as numerous infrastructure projects provided an outlet for sky-high production.

Increases in the Upper Midwest region were not as pronounced, with Chicago city-gates December up 27 cents to $3.10/MMBtu. A contributing factor in the more-minimal rise is the ever-increasing supply of gas traversing the region.

This dynamic, driven in part by increasing Western Canadian, Rockies and Northeast flows through the region, has weighed on the January futures basis contract as well in recent days.

Rising in a similar fashion, Houston Ship Channel tacked on 24 cents to $3.00/MMBtu, but looking deeper into the upcoming winter, more pronounced increases along the Gulf Coast could be looming as LNG export demand soars on the back of strong consumption in northeastern Asia.

To the east of Houston Ship Channel, benchmark Henry Hub December jumped 34 cents to $3.08/MMBtu, in line with other December contract movements in the Southeast.

Supply concerns because of storage restrictions and numerous maintenance projects around the Southern California market pushed the Southern California Gas city-gates to $6.40/MMBtu, which is not only $2.77/MMBtu higher than November levels, but the highest level on record, according to S&P Global Platts pricing data.

But AECO December was one of the few locations to dip into December, down 24 cents to C$1.92/Gj as strong production levels in Alberta outweighed recent record demand levels in the province, putting pressure on the December price.

Overall, the US December national average increased 56 cents to $3.08/MMBtu, more in line with year-ago levels.

--Ryan Ouwerkerk,

--Edited by Valarie Jackson,

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