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Natural gas storage build below expectations, mixed against averages

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a net 20-Bcf injection into natural gas inventories in the Lower 48 during the week ended July 28 that was below market expectations and mixed against averages.

The market consensus ahead of the report's release called for a 25-Bcf build to stocks, against a 3-Bcf withdrawal in the same week in 2016 and the five-year average injections of 44 Bcf.

The build brought total U.S. working gas supply to 3,010 Bcf, or 279 Bcf below the year-ago level and 87 Bcf above the five-year average storage level of 2,923 Bcf.

September natural gas futures were moving higher early Thursday, Aug. 3, trading 3.1 cents higher at $2.842/MMBtu just ahead of the data's 10:30 a.m. ET release. Following the release of the figure, the contract paired gains but held the upside, eyed last 1.3 cents higher at $2.824/MMBtu.

In the East, inventories were up 25 Bcf on the week at 651 Bcf, or 10.5% below the year-ago level. Storage levels in the Midwest were up 10 Bcf at 754 Bcf, or 8.5% below the year-ago level. In the Mountain region, storage levels were up 3 Bcf on the week at 200 Bcf, or 6.1% below the year-ago level, while in the Pacific region, storage levels were down 1 Bcf at 293 Bcf, or 7.0% below the year-ago level. In the South Central region, where storage levels were down a net 17 Bcf on the week, stocks are at a deficit of 8.2% to a year earlier.

Working gas stocks in the South Central region totaled 1,112 Bcf, with 306 Bcf in salt cavern facilities and with 806 Bcf in non-salt cavern facilities. Working gas stocks were down 12 Bcf in salt cavern facilities and down 6 Bcf in non-salt 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.