US natural gas storage fields injected well below the five-year average for the week ended April 23 as cooler weather prompted a net withdrawal from the East region, Energy Information Administration data showed April 29.
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Storage inventories increased 15 Bcf to 1.898 Tcf for the week-ended April 23, EIA data showed.
The build was more than the 9 Bcf addition expected by an S&P Global Platts survey of analysts, but measured well below the five-year average build of 67 Bcf, according to EIA data.
Storage volumes now stand 302 Bcf, or 13.87%, less than the year-ago level of 2.200 Tcf and 40 Bcf, or 2.1%, less than the five-year average of 1.938 Tcf.
The Midwest and Northeast drove a large share of the demand gains and on certain days inventories flipped to a net withdrawal, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics. As a result, inventories in the East region posted a 6 Bcf withdrawal compared to the five-year average build of 17 Bcf for the corresponding week.
The NYMEX Henry Hub June contract fell 7 cents to $2.89/MMBtu in trading following the release of the weekly storage report. The prompt-month contract has still managed to gain more than 20 cents over the past two weeks.
In its first day holding prompt-month position, the June Henry Hub NYMEX contract saw heavy selling pressure the morning of April 29 along with the rest of the balance-of-2021 strip as a slightly larger-than-expected storage injection last week likely cast a light on possibly over-bought conditions in the near-term futures market.
June through August all traded lower by about 7 cents the morning of April 29 following the EIA report, while September through December followed closely behind, dropping 6 cents. Downward pressure has even extended out through 2022, with the entire calendar year next year falling by 2 cents in a collective, albeit slight, downward price correction after several weeks of heating up.
Platts Analytics supply and demand model currently forecasts a 45 Bcf injection for the week ending April 30, which would measure nearly 40 Bcf less than the five-year average, further growing the storage deficit.
Total demand this week is down by 6.1 Bcf/d to an average 89.6 Bcf/d, with a massive drop in residenial-commercial and industrial demand partly offset by a 1.6 Bcf/d uptick in power burn demand.
Upstream, production is once again showing signs of life, with onshore receipts rising by 500 MMcf/d and offshore lending another 100 MMcf/d to the mix.
Notably, the sharp increase in net Canadian imports seen during the reference week has gone essentially unchanged, leaving supply in a far more robust position than it was the previous week during a time of falling demand.