The Energy Information Administration’s (EIA’s) weekly natural gas update Thursday reported an above-expectations increase in inventories, causing natural gas futures to decline below $3 for the first time in two weeks. A 28 billion cubic feet (Bcf) increase occurred in the week of 7/20-7/27 from 3,189 Bcf to 3,217 Bcf. This figure is up 17.2 percent above the storage at this point last year (2,745 Bcf) and 14.5 percent above the five-year average (2,810 Bcf). The East Region reported a large increase of 30 Bcf of stocks in working gas storage in the week, from 1,575 Bcf to 1,605 Bcf, a 1.9 percent increase. This figure is 17.3 percent above the natural gas storage at this point last year (1,368 Bcf) and is 10.2 percent higher than five-year average (2007-2011) for natural gas storage (1,457 Bcf).
Stocks in the West Region saw a small 4 Bcf increase, putting its total at 499 Bcf, 105 Bcf above last year’s amount (26.6 percent) and 87 Bcf above the five-year average (21.1 percent). In the Producing Region, stocks in working gas storage decreased from 1,119 Bcf to 1,113 Bcf. This storage total is still up from last year’s total at this point (983 Bcf) and the five-year average (941 Bcf).
After the EIA released this weekly report, natural gas futures (NGU12) for September declined $0.21 (6.53 percent) to $2.96/million Btu.