The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that a net 209 Bcf was withdrawn from natural gas inventories in the Lower 48 for the week ended Dec. 16 that was above market expectations and historical averages.
The latest pull left total U.S. working gas supply at 3,597 Bcf, or 226 Bcf below the same week in 2015 and 78 Bcf above the five-year average of 3,519 Bcf.
Market analysts and traders had called for a withdrawal from storage ranging from 195 Bcf to 205 Bcf, with an average 200-Bcf pull projected for the week under review. The figure compared to a 101-Bcf five-year average withdrawal and a 33-Bcf pull during the same week in 2015.
Ahead of the report's 10:30 a.m. ET release, the January 2017 natural gas futures contract ticked up to a $3.626/MMBtu high before backing off after the data was issued. At last look, the contract was pegged at $3.555/MMBtu, up 1.3 cents.
In the East, gas storage was down 55 Bcf on the week, to 810 Bcf, or 9.4% below the year-ago level. Storage levels in the Midwest declined 64 Bcf, to 1,007 Bcf, or 4.5% below the year-ago level. In the Mountain region, storage levels were down 14 Bcf on the week, to 230 Bcf, or 15.6% above the year-ago level, while in the Pacific region, storage levels were down 10 Bcf, to 302 Bcf, or 13.7% below the year-ago level. In the South Central region, storage levels dropped 66 Bcf on the week, putting stocks at a 5.7% deficit to a year earlier.
Working gas stocks in the South Central region totaled 1,248 Bcf, with 363 Bcf in salt cavern facilities and 884 Bcf in nonsalt cavern facilities. Working gas stocks fell 25 Bcf in the salt cavern facilities and were down 43 Bcf in nonsalt 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 our power and natural gas index prices, as well as forwards and futures, visit our Commodities Pages.