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Natural Gas Update: Storage Tightens, Prices Rise?

September 21, 2016

After weather adjustments, U.S. natural gas storage was 4 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) tighter year-over-year during last winter’s El Niño. Despite a surge in recent storage figures – for example, a 62 Bcf increase for the week ending September 9, 2016 – relatively low summer storage increases have been the norm. This development fits the narrative that storage has tightened. In addition, market fundamentals have improved in the past year due to demand growth and supply decline. Some analysts project natural gas storage to approach five-year average maximum (roughly 3,900 Bcf) by the end of the injection period (October 31), which would negate any year-over-year storage surplus. With average weather, this surplus could turn into a shortfall in the first quarter of fiscal 2017, which could lead to a natural gas price increase.