U.S. natgas futures steady on healthy demand, lower supply

(Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures steadied on Monday and consolidated gains from the previous session, buoyed by healthy demand and slightly lower output projections, even as the market transitions into the shoulder period for gas demand.

Demand for power usually moderates during the shoulder period, right after summer and ahead of the winter heating season.

"There is still a good amount of power burn even though electric demand (is falling). ... We are moving out of the summer season and further into the fall," said Robert DiDona of Energy Ventures Analysis.

"In the next 30 days, prices will sit in a very small range. There will not be a lot of market volatility unless demand or weather models shift significantly," DiDona said.

Front-month gas futures for October delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange were little changed at $2.651 per million British thermal units by 12:11 pm EDT (1611 GMT).

Financial firm LSEG said average gas output in the Lower 48 U.S. states eased to 102.11 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) so far in September, down from a record 102.3 bcfd in August.

In a move that could cut output in coming months, U.S. energy firms last week cut the number of oil and gas rigs operating for the first time in three weeks, energy services firm Baker Hughes said on Friday.

U.S. oil rigs fell by eight to 507 last week, their lowest since February 2022, while gas rigs dropped by three to 118.

But analysts at Ritterbusch and Associates said in a note that they "still expect output to gradually increase through the end of this year and into next in providing a minor offset against occasional unusual cold spells."

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