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Lower 48 operators draw 91 Bcf from storage, exceeding expectations

Storage operators drew a net 91 Bcf from natural gas inventories in the Lower 48 in the week ended Jan. 4, compared to a five-year-average pull of 187 Bcf, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported.

The withdrawal, which came in higher than the 84-Bcf draw projected by an S&P Global Platts survey, brought total working gas supply to 2,614 Bcf, or 204 Bcf below the year-ago level and 464 Bcf below the five-year average.

By region:

* In the East, stockpiles were down 10 Bcf on the week at 651 Bcf, 4% under the year-ago level.

* In the Midwest, stockpiles fell 35 Bcf at 763 Bcf, down 4% from a year ago.

* In the Mountain region, inventories were down 15 Bcf at 132 Bcf, down 22% from a year earlier.

* In the Pacific region, storage levels were down 16 Bcf at 204 Bcf, down 19% from a year ago.

* In the South Central region, inventories were down 13 Bcf at 865 Bcf, 7% below the year before.

Of that total, 302 Bcf was in salt cavern facilities and 563 Bcf was non-salt-cavern. Working gas stocks rose 2% in salt cavern facilities from the week before and were down 3.3% in non-salt-cavern facilities.

S&P Global Platts and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.