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Withdrawals from natural gas storage were lowest since 2015 – 2016

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Tanks and Terminals,

Working natural gas in storage in the Lower 48 states, as of 31 March 2020, totalled 2.008 trillion ft3, 19% more than the previous five-year (2015 – 2019) average for the end of the heating season, according to EIA’s Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report. The 2019 – 2020 heating season, which ran from 1 November 2019, to 31 March 2020, ended with the most working natural gas in storage since the 2016 – 2017 winter, with 1.718 trillion ft3 in net withdrawals, the least in four winters. Continued growth in natural gas production and relatively mild winter temperatures accounted for relatively higher inventory levels.

Working US natural gas stocks entered the heating season at 3.575 trillion ft3, nearly the same as the average over the previous five years. The 2019 – 2020 US heating season was characterised by periods of significantly warmer-than-normal temperatures. Heating degree days (HDD), a temperature-based indicator of heating demand, were 10% less this winter than the 30-year normal (1981 – 2010) and were higher than normal for only one week in November during this heating season.

EIA expects total working gas inventory to remain higher than the previous five-year average through the 2020 refill season (1 April – 31 October). EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) forecasts natural gas production to decline from year-ago levels this summer. These production declines, combined with growth in natural gas exports, will lead to smaller net injections into working gas storage through the refill season.

EIA expects that inventories will total 3.904 trillion ft3 by the end of the 2020 refill season, or 185 billion ft3 more than the previous five-year average and 252 billion ft3 more than last year. EIA’s April 2020 STEO forecast is subject to heightened uncertainty because of economic slowdown and significant recent changes in energy markets.

Principal contributor: Jose Villar

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