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US gas use rises by 7% on higher power, residential sector demand

Natural gas consumption in the U.S. advanced 7% during the week ended Dec. 18, driven by higher use in the power and residential and commercial sectors, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its "Natural Gas Weekly Update" released Dec. 19.

Gas demand in the U.S. averaged 97.3 Bcf/d, up from the 91.3 Bcf/d reported a week ago. Power sector demand was pegged at 30.5 Bcf/d, increasing from the 28.4 Bcf/d seen a week prior. Residential and commercial demand came in at 42.0 Bcf/d, rising from the 39.4 Bcf/d posted last week. Industrial demand also nudged higher and averaged 24.8 Bcf/d, compared to the 23.5 Bcf/d noted a week ago.

Total demand, which includes Mexico exports, pipeline fuel use or losses, and LNG pipeline receipts, averaged 118.0 Bcf/d for the week, increasing from the 111.7 Bcf/d posted last week.

The EIA, citing shipping data compiled by Bloomberg, said 17 LNG vessels with a capacity of 59 Bcf left the U.S. between Dec. 12 and Dec. 18. A week prior, 14 vessels with a capacity of 51 Bcf left the country.

Of the 17 vessels, eight came from Cheniere Energy Inc.'s Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana, two from Cheniere's Corpus Christi terminal in Texas, two from Dominion Energy Inc.'s Cove Point LNG facility in Maryland, two from the Cameron LNG LLC terminal in Louisiana, two from the Freeport LNG Development LP terminal in Texas and one from Kinder Morgan Inc.'s Elba Island LNG export terminal in Georgia.

In addition, the EIA said that Freeport LNG's third liquefaction train is under construction and is expected to come online in the first quarter of 2020. Train 2 started LNG production on Dec. 6 and exported its first cargo on Dec. 18.

Total U.S. gas supply came in at 100.6 Bcf/d during the week ended Dec. 18, slightly higher than the 100.4 Bcf/d noted a week prior. Marketed and dry production averaged 108.8 Bcf/d and 95.8 Bcf/d, respectively, down from the 109.4 Bcf/d and 96.3 Bcf/d reported last week. Net imports from Canada increased with 4.6 Bcf/d noted during the review period, compared to the 3.9 Bcf/d seen last week.

During the week ended Dec. 13, net withdrawals from storage totaled 107 Bcf, down from the five-year average pull of 112 Bcf and much lower than the 132 Bcf withdrawal reported during the corresponding week in 2018. Working gas stocks amounted to 3,411 Bcf, down 9 Bcf from the five-year average but 618 Bcf higher than values seen a year prior.