Natural Gas Inventories Rise Slightly, Prices Higher

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The US Energy Information Administration today reported the US natural gas stocks rose by a total of 28 billion cubic feet, slightly below the 31 billion cubic feet increase that analysts had expected. Natural gas prices were nearly 3% higher at $2.319/thousand cubic feet before the EIA released its report, and have risen to $2.332 immediately following the EIA data release.

The EIA reported that US working stocks of natural gas totaled 2.58 trillion cubic feet, about 840 billion cubic feet higher than the five-year average of 1.72 trillion cubic feet. Working gas in storage totaled 1.74 trillion cubic feet for the same period a year ago.

Natural gas prices have gotten a boost this week as temperatures in parts of the US have begun rising, lifting demand for cooling. The warming trend is expected to spread next week lifting demand even more. The relatively minor gains for gas in storage are also supporting higher prices.

US natural gas stocks are about 48% higher than they were a year ago and about 5% higher than the 5-year average. Both figures are lower than they were a week ago.

Paul Ausick