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US gas demand softens, supply edges higher in week to Dec. 20

Warmer weather helped trim natural gas demand in the U.S. during the week ended Dec. 20, while growing production and imports drove up supply, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its latest "Natural Gas Weekly Update" released Dec. 21.

Overall consumption of natural gas in the U.S. was 8% lower week on week, from 91.7 Bcf/d to 84.8 Bcf/d.

With warmer-than-normal weather observed for much of the country and temperatures near normal for most of the Eastern Seaboard, residential/commercial-sector demand deflated by 10% week on week, from 40.8 Bcf/d to 36.8 Bcf/d. Power burn logged an 8% reduction versus the prior-week figure as it fell from 27.6 Bcf/d to 25.3 Bcf/d, while industrial-sector consumption notched a 3% slump over the same period as it eased from 23.3 Bcf/d to 22.6 Bcf/d.

Natural gas exports to Mexico were up week over week, from 4.5 Bcf/d to 4.6 Bcf/d. Natural gas pipeline flows to the Sabine Pass liquefaction terminal averaged 3.0 Bcf/d during the week in review, with four vessels carrying a combined 14.7 Bcf of LNG seen to have left the terminal from Dec. 14 to Dec. 20, and one tanker with an LNG-carrying capacity of 3.6 Bcf seen loading at the terminal on Dec. 20.

Total U.S. natural gas supply rose from 82.0 Bcf/d in the previous week to 83.1 Bcf/d in the current report period, reflecting a 1% gain week on week. Dry production posted a 1% uptick relative to the week-ago level as it climbed from 76.1 Bcf/d to 76.8 Bcf/d, while net imports from Canada logged a 7% increase over the same period as it expanded from 5.7 Bcf/d to 6.1 Bcf/d.

In terms of inventories, the latest storage data from the EIA outlined a net 182-Bcf withdrawal for the week ended Dec. 15.

While the reported storage drawdown trailed the 200-Bcf prior-year draw, it bested the 125-Bcf five-year average pull and widened the year-on-five-year-average deficit following a decline for three consecutive weeks. Total working gas stocks currently sit at 3,444 Bcf, or 183 Bcf below the year-ago level and 84 Bcf below the five-year average of 3,528 Bcf.