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Cold drives larger-than-expected natural gas storage withdrawal

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a net 194-Bcf withdrawal from natural gas inventories in the Lower 48 during the week ended Feb. 9 that was above expectations and historical averages.

The market consensus ahead of the report's release called for a 180-Bcf drawdown from stocks, against respective year-ago and five-year-average withdrawals of 120 Bcf and 154 Bcf.

The pull brought total U.S. working gas supply to 1,884 Bcf, or 577 Bcf below the year-ago level and 433 Bcf below the five-year average storage level of 2,317 Bcf.

March natural gas futures were lower ahead of the data's 10:30 a.m. ET release, trading down 1.0 cent at $2.577/MMBtu at 10:29 a.m. ET. Following the release, the contract held within its pre-release trading range from $2.530/MMBtu to $2.623/MMBtu and was last seen 0.7 cent higher at $2.594/MMBtu.

In the East, inventories were down 56 Bcf on the week at 432 Bcf, or 10.9% below the year-ago level. Storage levels in the Midwest were down 75 Bcf at 468 Bcf, or 27.8% below the year-ago level. In the Mountain region, storage levels were down 9 Bcf on the week at 122 Bcf, or 19.2% below the year-ago level, while in the Pacific region, storage levels were unchanged on the week at 213 Bcf, or 3.9% above the year-ago level. In the South Central region, where storage levels were down 54 Bcf on the week, stocks are at a deficit of 33.2% to a year earlier.

Working gas stocks in the South Central region totaled 649 Bcf, with 178 Bcf in salt cavern facilities and with 472 Bcf in non-salt cavern facilities. Working gas stocks were down 6 Bcf in salt cavern facilities and down 46 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.