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Natural gas storage build beats consensus outlook and averages

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a net 106-Bcf injection into natural gas inventories in the Lower 48 during the week ended May 11 that was above consensus estimates and historical averages.

The build marked the first triple-digit injection of the season and was better than the 104-Bcf consensus forecast ahead of the report's release, as well as above the 89-Bcf build reported for the week to May 4 and the respective year-ago and five-year average injections of 64 Bcf and 87 Bcf, respectively.

The injection brought total U.S. working gas supply to 1,538 Bcf, or 821 Bcf below the year-ago level and 501 Bcf below the five-year average storage level of 2,039 Bcf.

June natural gas futures were eyed 2.0 cents lower ahead of the data's 10:30 a.m. ET release and held within the pre-release trading range of $2.780/MMBtu to $2.822/MMBtu following the release. The contract was last eyed 1.6 cents lower at $2.799/MMBtu.

In the East, inventories were up 32 Bcf on the week at 275 Bcf, or 24.7% below the year-ago level. Storage levels in the Midwest were up 27 Bcf at 267 Bcf, or 50.4% below the year-ago level. In the Mountain region, storage levels were up 6 Bcf on the week at 98 Bcf, or 38.8% below the year-ago level, while in the Pacific region, storage levels were up 9 Bcf on the week at 204 Bcf, or 16.0% below the year-ago level. In the South Central region, where storage levels were up 32 Bcf, stocks are at a deficit of 34.2% to a year earlier.

Working gas stocks in the South Central region totaled 694 Bcf, with 216 Bcf in salt cavern facilities and with 477 Bcf in nonsalt cavern facilities. Working gas stocks were up 12 Bcf in salt cavern facilities and up 19 Bcf in nonsalt cavern facilities since the previous week.

Market prices and included industry data are current as of the time of publication and are subject to change. For more detailed market data, including power, natural gas index prices, as well as forwards and futures, visit our Commodities Pages.