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Rising temperatures drive down US natural gas demand

Weekly U.S. natural gas consumption dropped off by about 6 Bcf/d in the week that ended March 20 as warmer temperatures in the Northeast drove down heating demand, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported in its March 21 "Natural Gas Weekly Update."

U.S. gas use fell 8% during the report week, landing at an average of 74.8 Bcf/d from the 81.0 Bcf/d average posted during the previous week, the EIA reported. Residential and commercial gas consumption fell to 30.3 Bcf/d, compared to the previous week's 36.3 Bcf/d.

Gas use for power generation on the other hand remained relatively flat week over week, averaging 22.5 Bcf/d compared to last week's 22.4 Bcf/d. Industrial gas consumption saw a small decrease at 22.0 Bcf/d, compared to the previous report week's 22.3 Bcf/d.

Total demand, which includes Mexico exports; pipeline fuel use and losses; and LNG pipeline receipts, totaled 91.3 Bcf/d for the week, down from 97.3 Bcf/d last week.

Seven LNG vessels, with a combined carrying capacity of 24.8 Bcf, left the U.S. from March 14 to March 20, the EIA said, citing shipping data compiled by Bloomberg. All of the tankers left from export terminals owned by Cheniere Energy Inc., with six of the tankers leaving from the Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana and one from the Corpus Christi terminal in Texas. One vessel was loading at the Sabine Pass terminal on March 19. Data for Dominion Energy Inc.'s Cove Point terminal in Maryland was not available for the week, according to the EIA.

Total U.S. natural gas supply remained level week over week, averaging 93.5 Bcf/d from March 14 through March 20, compared to 93.4 Bcf/d the previous week. Average net imports from Canada saw a small uptick during the week at 5.1 Bcf/d, compared to the past week's 4.9 Bcf/d.

Net storage withdrawals for the week ended March 15 totaled 47 Bcf. Working gas stocks totaled 1,143 Bcf, which was 556 Bcf below the five-year average and 315 Bcf below the level for the same period in the previous year.