US natural gas volumes in storage increased 46 Bcf, more than the five year-average, following the reclassification of base to working gas in the South Central region, while Henry Hub futures continue to decline.
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Inventories increased to 2.822 Tcf for the week ended Aug. 13, the US Energy Information Administration reported Aug. 19.
The injection was more than the 35 Bcf addition expected by an S&P Global Platts survey of analysts. Responses to the survey ranged from a 25 to 42 Bcf injection. The 46 Bcf build was more the five-year average build of 42 Bcf and last year's 45 Bcf injection in the corresponding week.
US storage volumes now stand 547 Bcf, or 16.2%, less than the year-ago level of 3.369 Tcf and 174 Bcf, or 5.8%, less than the five-year average of 2.996 Tcf.
The weekly injection would have matched the five-year average, but 4 Bcf of base gas in the South Central storage region was reclassified to working gas. This caused the region to post a 1 Bcf injection rather than a 3 Bcf withdrawal for the week. The reclassification occurred in a non-salt dome storage facility.
The Pacific region demonstrated a drawdown for the fifth consecutive week as heat and below-normal hydro generation continues to affect the area. The region's inventory is 16% below the five-year average and 23% less than last year. SoCal Gas, city-gate spot price has retreated from $7.62/MMBtu on Aug. 17 to $4.77 on Aug. 19. PG&E city-gate is at $5.16.
The NYMEX Henry Hub September contract dropped 10 cents to $3.75/MMBtu in trading following the release of the weekly storage report. It has fallen by 25 cents since Aug. 16. The winter strip, November through March, averaged $3.87/MMBtu, representing a decline of 23 cents from one week prior.
Platts Analytics' supply and demand model currently forecasts a 31 Bcf injection for the week ending Aug. 20, which would measure 13 Bcf less than the five-year average. The last full week in August is expected to add 36 Bcf compared to the five-year average of 53 Bcf.
Fundamentals during the week in progress have tightened by roughly 1.2 Bcf/d despite a relatively small increase in total demand. Total supplies are down 900 MMcf/d on the week, with losses split almost evenly between onshore production and Canadian imports. Downstream, total demand is up roughly 300 MMcf/d as a 1.6 Bcf/d slide in power burn demand is being offset by a 1 Bcf/d rebound in LNG feedgas demand and a combined nearly 1 Bcf/d gain in residential-commercial and industrial loads.