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US natural gas storage volume increases by 3 Bcf to 3.732 Tcf: EIA

Denver — Henry Hub winter strip inches higher

Large withdrawal forecasts for week in progress

US working natural gas volumes in underground storage added 3 Bcf last week, according to the US Energy Information Administration Thursday, increasing much less than the five-year average for the corresponding week and marking the last net injection of the year, while the remaining NYMEX Henry Hub winter strip added about 2 cents following the number's release.

US working natural gas volumes in underground storage added 3 Bcf, increasing by much less than the five-year average and marking the last net injection of the year, while the remaining NYMEX Henry Hub winter strip added about 2 cents following the number's release.

Storage inventories increased to 3.732 Tcf for the week ended November 8, the US Energy Information Administration reported Thursday morning.

The injection was less than an S&P Global Platts' survey of analysts calling for a 7 Bcf addition. Survey responses ranged from a net change of zero to a 12 Bcf build.

The build was less than the 42 Bcf injection reported during the corresponding week in 2018, as well as the five-year average addition of 30 Bcf, according to EIA data. As a result, stocks were 491 Bcf, or 15%, more than the year-ago level of 3.241 Tcf and 2 Bcf, or 0.1%, more than the five-year average of 3.73 Tcf.

The NYMEX Henry Hub December contract added 4 cents to $2.64/MMBtu following the announcement. The remaining winter strip, December through March, gained 2.5 cents to average $2.63/MMBtu. The price of gas this winter has been oscillating higher and lower over the past few months, and it has been on the downswing over the past week after topping out near $2.85 in early November.

The only EIA region to post a net injection was South Central, which added 8 Bcf. Volumes fell slightly in the Midwest and Pacific while remaining flat in East and Mountain storage fields.

WEEK IN PROGRESS

A forecast by S&P Global Platts Analytics' supply and demand model has storage volumes decreasing by 86 Bcf for the week ending November 15, marking the official flip to heating season. Colder temperatures continue to drive up residential-commercial demand, and the week in progress has seen demand begin to exceed supplies by more than 10 Bcf/d, pointing to a sizable withdrawal.

Total demand is up 14 Bcf/d on the week to average 108.7 Bcf/d. In the Northeast, where residential-commercial demand is up nearly 5 Bcf/d, power burn also notably moved higher, gaining 1 Bcf/d on the week. Upstream supplies this week are up 0.7 Bcf/d overall to an average 97.2 Bcf/d. A roughly 0.5 Bcf/d drop in US production was offset by an increase in net Canadian imports, which were aided in part by a drop in exports on Nexus Pipeline.

With heating-degree days across the US increasing by 46% for the week in progress, the first withdrawal of the season is set to be a big one, nearly three times the five-year average.

MIDWEST ACTIVITY

ANR Pipeline storage system inventory pushed above 247 Bcf at the start of November, roughly 18 Bcf higher than the five-year average for November and 60 Bcf higher than November 2018. However, strong withdrawals have started to pull on inventories.

Total withdrawals for November have reached 7.8 Bcf, 3.7 Bcf higher than the same period in 2018 and 6.9 Bcf higher than the five-year average, according to Platts Analytics. Temperatures in Michigan have averaged 32.1 degrees so far this year, which is five degrees cooler than last year and 10 degrees cooler than the five-year average. It helped support strong withdrawals on top of the loss of Northeast supply on the Nexus Pipeline.

However, supply on Nexus returned on Tuesday, which will help alleviate the recent strong pull on storage going forward. Since the start of the month MichCon city-gate cash basis has averaged 14 cents/MMBtu below Henry Hub, 10 cents weaker than 2018.

-- Brandon Evans, newsdesk@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Christopher Newkumet, newsdesk@spglobal.com