Over the past three weeks, US prices have surged 30% to above $2.50 per million British thermal units (mm/BTU), fueled by production declines and increased feedgas demand for liquified natural gas (LNG) exports.Moreover, recent producer cuts, maintenance events, and Freeport LNG’s normalization of gas demand post-outage have contributed to this rise. Cheniere’s announcement of no heavy maintenance for its liquefaction trains this year also supports higher prices.In a Thursday note, Goldman Sachs strategists said the return of gas prices above $2/mmBtu aligns with their expectations, as production curtailments “would ultimately lead to lower storage congestion risks for this summer.”“That said, we see only limited further upside from current levels, with stronger gas prices risking a return of congestion concerns,” they added.Goldman notes that prices above $2/mmBtu reduce gas competitiveness compared to coal, with a $0.50/mmBtu increase potentially cutting gas demand by 1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), especially in shoulder months.Moreover, higher prices may prompt the restart of previously shut-in wells. EQT (ST:), the largest producer in the Appalachia region, indicated it would resume production if prices sustainably exceed $1.50/mmBtu. And while Appalachia prices haven’t risen as much as NYMEX, the local hub has averaged $1.44/mmBtu month-to-date, up 10¢ from last month, strategists highlighted.Elsewhere, European gas prices have also risen this summer, though less sharply than in the US.Title Transfer Facility (TTF) prices increased 18% over the past three months to around 30 euros per megawatt-hour (MWh), holding steady in May.3rd party Ad. Not an offer or recommendation . See disclosure here or
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.However, unlike the US market, this rally lacks fundamental support, with Northwest (NW) European gas storage at record-high levels, Goldman strategists pointed out.“To be sure, NW European LNG imports have remained weak relative to last year – and are likely to get weaker in the coming weeks owing to a seasonal decline in global LNG production, exacerbated by outages at Australia’s Gorgon export project,” they said.“Going forward, we expect healthy non-European demand for LNG to continue to incentivize a decline in European LNG imports vs last year,” they continued.