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US working natural gas in underground storage increases by 26 Bcf: EIA

Highlights

Likely marks final build of 2021

22 Bcf draw forecast for week in progress

US natural gas working stocks increased by 26 Bcf for the week ended Nov. 12 in what was likely the final net injection of 2021.

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Storage inventories climbed to 3.644 Tcf, the US Energy Information Administration reported Nov. 18. The injection was more than an S&P Global Platts survey of analysts calling for a 22 Bcf addition.

The injection was less than the 28 Bcf build reported during the corresponding week in 2020, but far outweighed the five-year average draw of 12 Bcf, according to EIA data. As a result, stocks were 310 Bcf, or 7.8%, below the year-ago level of 3.954 Tcf and 81 Bcf, or 2.2%, below the five-year average of 3.725 Tcf.

The Henry Hub winter strip had just climbed 20 cents/MMBtu Nov. 16 on both colder domestic weather outlooks and a setback for Nord Stream 2, which has sent European gas prices on an upswing. The first driver of the Henry Hub upswing is a colder outlook for domestic weather, boosting expectations for near-term demand. In regions like the East, Midwest, and the South Central, Platts Analytics' 14-day temperature outlook fell by upwards of 2 degrees in the latter half of the outlook from the Nov. 12 forecast to the Nov. 16 forecast.

Additionally, Germany suspended its approval process for Nord Stream 2, adding downside risk to European gas supplies this winter. This has boosted European gas pricing, with TTF and NBP day-ahead prices rising 18% and 10%, respectively. Stronger European gas pricing has likely contributed to the uplift seen in the Henry Hub winter strip, with risk to European gas supplies reinforcing the role of US exports in serving European gas demand this winter. Platts Analytics expects US LNG feedgas deliveries will average 12.3 Bcf/d for the balance of the winter, up from 10.4 Bcf/d last winter.

An S&P Global Platts Analytics' supply and demand model forecast calls for 22 Bcf withdrawal for the week ending Nov. 19, which would be half the five-year average draw as the heating season gets off to a slow start, but global factors continue to provide support for US gas prices.