Natural Gas Inventories Jump Again, Price Dives

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The US Energy Information Administration today reported the US natural gas stocks rose by a total of 25 billion cubic feet, well above the 8 billion cubic feet increase that analysts had expected. Natural gas prices responded by falling about -0.5% to about $1.95/thousand cubic feet.

The EIA reported that US working stocks of natural gas totaled 2.51 trillion cubic feet, about 919 billion cubic feet higher than the five-year average of 1.59 trillion cubic feet. Working gas in storage totaled 1.64 trillion cubic feet for the same period a year ago.

A warm winter, continued production increases, and the current, usually low-demand period are likely to keep natural gas prices depressed at least through April and perhaps even into May. Without a warmer-than-usual summer to boost prices for natural gas, more production cutbacks are likely and natural gas producers could face even more difficult times.

US natural gas stocks are about 53% higher than they were a year ago and more than 57% higher than the 5-year average.

Paul Ausick