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Higher power sector demand lifts US gas use by 2%

Natural gas consumption in the U.S. increased by 2% during the week ended Dec. 11 as higher usage in the power sector offset declining demand in the industrial sector.

In its "Natural Gas Weekly Update" released Dec. 12, U.S. Energy Information Administration said gas demand in the U.S. averaged 91.3 Bcf/d during the week ended Dec. 11, up from the 89.6 Bcf/d seen a week ago. The power sector provided a lift, with consumption averaging 28.4 Bcf/d during the review period, increasing from the 26.7 Bcf/d noted a week prior.

Residential and commercial demand came in at 39.4 Bcf/d, compared to the 38.5 Bcf/d posted last week. However, industrial demand declined to 23.6 Bcf/d, from the 24.4 Bcf/d posted a week ago.

Total demand, which includes Mexico exports, pipeline fuel use or losses, and LNG pipeline receipts, was reported at 111.8 Bcf/d, rising from the 109.5 Bcf/d noted a week ago.

Citing data compiled by Bloomberg, the EIA said that 14 LNG vessels with a capacity of 51 Bcf left the U.S. between Dec. 5 and Dec. 11. A week ago, ten LNG vessels with a capacity of 36 Bcf left the country between Nov. 28 and Dec. 4.

Of the 14 vessels, seven came from Cheniere Energy Inc.'s Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana, two from Cheniere's Corpus Christi terminal in Texas, two from the Cameron LNG LLC terminal in Louisiana, two from Freeport LNG Development LP terminal in Texas and one from Dominion Energy Inc.'s Cove Point LNG facility in Maryland.

Kinder Morgan Inc.'s Elba Island LNG export terminal in Georgia is reportedly loading its first export cargo after commissioning the first five of its ten small liquefaction trains, the EIA said.

Total U.S. gas supply averaged 100.4 Bcf/d, slightly lower than the 100.6 Bcf/d noted a week prior. Marketed and dry production averaged 109.4 Bcf/d and 96.3 Bcf/d, respectively, slipping from the 109.8 Bcf/d and 96.7 Bcf/d noted a week ago. Net imports from Canada ticked higher and came in at 3.9 Bcf/d, up from the 3.7 Bcf/d seen during the previous week.

During the week ended Dec. 6, net withdrawals from storage totaled 73 Bcf, up from the five-year average pull of 68 Bcf but slightly lower than the 75 Bcf withdrawal noted during the same week a year ago. Working gas stocks came in at 3,518 Bcf, down 14 Bcf from the five-year average but 593 Bcf higher than values reported during the corresponding period a year prior.