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US natural gas storage volume falls 173 Bcf to 2.197 Bcf: EIA

New York — US natural gas in storage decreased 173 Bcf to 2.197 Tcf in the week that ended January 25, the US Energy Information Administration reported Thursday.

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The withdrawal was well below the expectations of an S&P Global Platts' survey of analysts, which called for a 197 Bcf pull. The draw was completely outside of the range of survey responses. The lowest response was for a 176 Bcf withdrawal.

The withdrawal was considerably above the 126 Bcf pull reported in the corresponding week in 2018 as well as the five-year average draw of 150 Bcf, according to EIA data.

As a result, stocks were 14 Bcf, or 0.6%, under the year-ago level of 2.211 Tcf and 328 Bcf, or 13%, below the five-year average of 2.525 Tcf.

The NYMEX March gas futures contract slid 2 cents to $2.83/MMBtu following the data announcement.

The EIA reported a 39 Bcf withdrawal in the East to trim regional stocks to 527 Bcf, compared with 529 Bcf a year ago; a 67 Bcf draw in the Midwest to drop inventories to 606 Bcf, compared with 601 Bcf a year ago; a 7 Bcf pull in the Mountain region to cut stocks to 114 Bcf, compared with 138 Bcf a year ago; a 7 Bcf withdrawal in the Pacific to drop inventories to 178 Bcf, compared with 222 Bcf a year ago; and a 52 Bcf draw in the South Central region to decrease stocks to 771 Bcf, compared with 720 Bcf a year ago.

Total inventories are now 48 Bcf under the five-year average of 575 Bcf in the East, 57 Bcf below the five-year average of 663 Bcf in the Midwest, 35 Bcf lower than the five-year average of 149 Bcf in the Mountain region, 64 Bcf below the five-year average of 242 Bcf in the Pacific and 125 Bcf under the five-year average of 896 Bcf in the South Central region.

An early forecast for the week that ended February 1 calls for a withdrawal of 255 Bcf, which is 105 Bcf larger than the five-year average draw. It would be the largest pull ever for reported for the corresponding week. During the polar vortex of 2014, 231 Bcf was drawn down during the same week.

-- Brandon Evans,

-- Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh,