US natural gas inventories fell by 59 Bcf, nearly double the five-year average but in line with market expectations as it matched the S&P Global Platts' survey of analysts.
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Storage fields withdrew 59 Bcf for the week ended Nov. 26, according to data the US Energy Information Administration released Dec. 2. The draw doubled the five-year average pull of 31 Bcf and dwarfed last year's 4 Bcf withdrawal in the corresponding week.
The second net withdrawal of the heating season was much stronger than the initial pull of 21 Bcf reported for the week ended Nov. 19. Drawdowns were reported in all of the EIA's storage regions except the Pacific, which added 1 Bcf to 263 Bcf.
Working gas inventories fell to 3.564 Tcf. US storage volumes now stand 375 Bcf, or 9.5%, less than the year-ago level of 3.939 Tcf and 86 Bcf, or 2.4%, less than the five-year average of 3.650 Tcf.
The remaining NYMEX Henry Hub winter strip, January through March, fell 13 cents to average $4.01/MMBtu following the EIA storage report. The winter strip has declined more than $1/MMBtu over the past week.
Platts Analytics expects a similar draw of 57 Bcf for the week ending Dec. 3, which is in line with the five-year average pull of 55 Bcf. However, an early forecast for the week ending Dec. 10 shows a slighter draw of 56 Bcf, which is less than half the five-year average drawdown of 114 Bcf.
Mild temperatures across the US, which have contributed to easing residential and commercial and total demand during the week in progress, were expected to peak Dec. 2, averaging about 8.5 degrees Fahrenheit above normal.
The average US temperature has increased by nearly 10 degrees since late November. Residential and commercial demand has fallen by 11 Bcf/d over the period, according to Platts Analytics data. US res-comm demand slid 4.6 Bcf/d to 29 Bcf/d Dec. 2, with the largest declines from the East and Midwest regions. Total demand was down 8 Bcf/d to 99.1 Bcf/d.
Res-comm demand was expected to strengthen to average 36.7 Bcf/d over the next seven days as the average US temperature falls. Total supply was down 600 MMcf/d on the day Dec. 2 as dry production rose by 300 MMcf/d but imports from Canada were down by 800 MMcf/d.