The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a net 28-Bcf injection into natural gas inventories in the Lower 48 during the week that ended Aug. 4 that was below market expectations and historical averages.
The market consensus ahead of the report's release called for a 36-Bcf build to stocks, against respective year-ago and five-year average injections of 24 Bcf and 54 Bcf.
The build brought total U.S. working gas supply to 3,038 Bcf, or 275 Bcf below the year-ago level and 61 Bcf above the five-year average storage level of 2,977 Bcf.
September natural gas futures were slightly higher just ahead of the midmorning release of the latest storage figure, trading 1.3 cents higher at $2.896/MMBtu after reaching a $2.919/MMBtu intraday high earlier in the session. Following the report's 10:30 a.m. ET release, the contract jumped to a $2.960/MMBtu high but backed off the peak to trade 7.4 cents higher at $2.957/MMBtu at last look.
In the East, inventories were up 22 Bcf on the week at 673 Bcf, or 9.5% below the year-ago level. Storage levels in the Midwest were up 17 Bcf at 771 Bcf, or 8.4% below the year-ago level. In the Mountain region, storage levels were up 2 Bcf on the week at 202 Bcf, or 6.0% below the year-ago level, while in the Pacific region, storage levels were down 4 Bcf at 289 Bcf, or 8.0% below the year-ago level. In the South Central region, where storage levels were down a net 9 Bcf on the week, stocks are at a deficit of 7.9% to a year earlier.
Working gas stocks in the South Central region totaled 1,103 Bcf, with 299 Bcf in salt cavern facilities and 804 Bcf in non-salt cavern facilities. Working gas stocks were down 7 Bcf in salt cavern facilities and down 2 Bcf in non-salt cavern facilities since the previous week.
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