TheU.S. Energy Information Administration reported a net 3-Bcf withdrawal fromnatural gas inventories in the Lower 48 during the week ended April 8 as coldweather blasted major heat-consuming regions.
Thisweek's storage drawdown compared against the five-year average injection of 22Bcf and the year-ago injection of 49 Bcf, and brought total U.S. working gassupply to 2,477 Bcf, just below the fresh end-of-withdrawal-season record highof 2,480 Bcf. Stocks are 956 Bcf above the year-ago level and 849 Bcf above thefive-year average storage level of 1,628 Bcf.
Asurvey of analystsand traders ahead of the report's release showed outlooks ranged from a 13-Bcfwithdrawal to as much as a 10-Bcf build, with a consensus formed at a 1-Bcfwithdrawal from storage.
Aheadof the report's 10:30 a.m. ET release, the front-month May natural gas futurescontract traded as low as $1.971/MMBtu following two days on the upswing drivenby the anticipation that a slowdown in production will begin to erode some ofthe excess natural gas supply. Following the data's release, the contract movedoff of pre-release lows, still holding the downside while trading last 2.6cents lower at $2.010/MMBtu.
Inthe East, inventories were down 15 Bcf on the week at 419 Bcf, or 69% above theyear-ago level. Storage levels in the Midwest were down 10 Bcf to 538 Bcf, or106.1% above the year-ago level. In the Mountain region, storage levels were up1 Bcf on the week to 150 Bcf, or 28.2% above the year-ago level, while in thePacific region, storage levels were up 4 Bcf at 269 Bcf, or 1.5% below theyear-ago level. In the South Central region, where storage levels were up 17Bcf on the week, stocks are at a surplus of 76.7% to a year earlier.
Workinggas stocks in the South Central region totaled 1,101 Bcf, with 334 Bcf in saltcavern facilities and with 767 Bcf in nonsalt cavern facilities. Working gasstocks were up 11 Bcf in the salt cavern facilities and up 6 Bcf in nonsaltcavern facilities since the previousweek.
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