TheU.S. Energy Information Administration reported a net 12-Bcf injection intonatural gas inventories in the Lower 48 during the week ended April 1 that wasabove consensus estimates and better than historical averages.
Thisweek's storage injection compared against the five-year average withdrawal of19 Bcf and the year-ago injection of 6 Bcf and brought total U.S. working gassupply to a end-of-withdrawal-season record high of 2,480 Bcf, beating theprevious record of 2,473 Bcf set on March 31, 2012. Stocks are 1,008 Bcf abovethe year-ago level and 874 Bcf above the five-year average storage level of1,606 Bcf.
Asurvey of analystsand traders ahead of the report's release showed outlooks ranged from 1-Bcfinjection to as much as a 15-Bcf build, with a consensus formed at an 8-Bcfinjection into storage.
Aheadof the report's 10:30 a.m. ET release, the front-month May natural gas futurescontract was trading higher with short covering on the latest weather forecastsproviding upside momentum. Following the data's release the contract extendedthe pre-release trading range from $1.892/MMBtu to $1.980/MMBtu, moving to a$1.990/MMBtu high while trading last up 7.4 cents at $1.985/MMBtu.
Inthe East, inventories were down 5 Bcf on the week at 434 Bcf, or 76.4% abovethe year-ago level. Storage levels in the Midwest were down 7 Bcf to 548 Bcf,or 113.2% above the year-ago level. In the Mountain region, storage levels wereup 2 Bcf on the week to 149 Bcf, or 28.4% above the year-ago level, while inthe Pacific region, storage levels were up 3 Bcf at 265 Bcf, or 2.6% below theyear-ago level. In the South Central region, where storage levels were up 19Bcf on the week, stocks are at a surplus of 86.6% to a year earlier.
Workinggas stocks in the South Central region totaled 1,084 Bcf, with 323 Bcf in saltcavern facilities and with 761 Bcf in nonsalt cavern facilities. Working gasstocks were up 8 Bcf in the salt cavern facilities and up 11 in nonsalt cavernfacilities since the previousweek.
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