The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a net 69 Bcf was pulled from natural gas storage in the Lower 48 during the week ended Dec. 8.
The withdrawal, which was above most market expectations, brought total U.S. working gas supply to 3,626 Bcf, or 201 Bcf below the year-ago level and 27 Bcf below the five-year average storage level of 3,653 Bcf.
Analysts and traders surveyed were looking for a 60-Bcf pull from storage for the period under review. The latest storage figure was still below a 132-Bcf year-ago pull and the 78-Bcf five-year average withdrawal.
NYMEX January 2018 natural gas futures were moving lower ahead of the report's release. At last look near 10:45 a.m. ET, the contract was pegged near $2.678/MMBtu, down 3.7 cents after the data was issued.
In the East, inventories were down 13 Bcf on the week to 855 Bcf, or 1.7% below the year-ago level. Storage levels in the Midwest dropped 25 Bcf to 1,033 Bcf and were 4.1% below the year-ago level. In the Mountain region, storage levels were 8 Bcf on the week to 213 Bcf, or 13.4% below the year-ago level. In the Pacific region, storage levels were also down 8 Bcf, or 2.9% below the year-ago level, to a total of 305 Bcf. In the South Central region, where storage levels declined 15 Bcf on the week, stocks were at a deficit of 7.6% to a year earlier.
Working gas stocks in the South Central region totaled 1,220 Bcf, with 360 Bcf in salt cavern facilities and 860 Bcf in nonsalt cavern facilities. Working gas stocks were unchanged in salt cavern facilities and down 15 Bcf in nonsalt cavern facilities since the previous week.
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