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.
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