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US natural gas in underground storage decreases 19 Bcf: EIA

Highlights

Stocks nearly 600 Bcf above last year

Henry Hub winter strip makes modest gains

Denver — US working natural gas volumes in underground storage dropped 19 Bcf last week, falling by less than half of the five-year average, while the remaining NYMEX Henry Hub winter strip made modest increases following the number's release Thursday morning.

Storage inventories fell to 3.591 Tcf for the week ended November 29, the US Energy Information Administration reported Thursday.

Stocks are now nearly 600 Bcf above year-ago levels. There is little indication that figure will decline in the coming weeks.

The pull was slightly below an S&P Global Platts' survey of analysts calling for a 21 Bcf draw. Survey responses ranged from withdrawals of 15 Bcf to 27 Bcf.

The withdrawal was much less than the 62 Bcf pull reported during the corresponding week in 2018 as well as the five-year average draw of 41 Bcf, according to EIA data. As a result, stocks were 591 Bcf, or 19.7%, more than the year-ago level of 3 Tcf and 9 Bcf, or 0.3%, less than the five-year average of 3.6 Tcf.

The draw was even less than the 28 Bcf pulled from working gas in storage reported for the week ended November 22.

US supply and demand balances were slightly wider for the week ended November 29 as demand trended down more than supply. Total supplies fell 0.2 Bcf/d to an average 96.1 Bcf/d during the week, as a roughly 0.8 Bcf/d increase in US onshore production was matched with a 1.1 Bcf/d drop in net Canadian imports, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics. Texas drove the bulk of production growth, while the drop in net Canadian imports was spread out across border crossings with the US in both eastern and western Canada.

The NYMEX Henry Hub balance-of-winter contract strip was trading 2 cents/MMBtu higher Thursday, but prices remain challenged amid a normal to above-normal weather outlook in the coming weeks. Despite small gains, Thursday gas prices are roughly 30 cents lower than they were two weeks ago.

Platts Analytics' supply and demand model forecasts a draw of 70 Bcf for the week ending December 6, which is 2 Bcf more than the five-year average.

Balances have moved much tighter during the week in progress, with total demand rising 8.1 Bcf/d alongside a much smaller 0.5 Bcf/d increase in total supplies.

Total supplies are averaging 96.6 Bcf/d this week, with most of the gains stemming from higher Canadian imports to meet higher US demand.

Total demand is averaging 105.8 Bcf/d, led by sharp increases in residential and commercial demand primarily in the East storage region, but also joined by higher loads in the South-Central and Midwest regions.

Click here for full-size infographic

-- Brandon Evans, bevans@spglobal.com; Eric Brooks, ebrooks@spglobal.com

-- Jack Winters, jack.winters@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Valarie Jackson, newsdesk@spglobal.com