Natural Gas Inventories Rise, Prices Fall Again

The US Energy Information Administration today reported the US natural gas stocks rose by a total of 57 billion cubic feet, above the 43-47 billion cubic feet increase that analysts had expected. Natural gas prices responded by falling about -4.5% to about $2.18/thousand cubic feet.

The EIA reported that US working stocks of natural gas totaled 2.44 trillion cubic feet, about 900 billion cubic feet higher than the five-year average of 1.54 trillion cubic feet. Working gas in storage totaled 1.62 trillion cubic feet for the same period a year ago.

A warm winter, continued production increases, and now a usually low-demand period are likely to keep natural gas prices depressed at least through April and perhaps even into may. Demand for cooling may perk up prices somewhat if the spring turns out to be warmer than usual.

US natural gas stocks are about 50% higher than they were a year ago and nearly 59% higher than the 5-year average. This situation does not augur well for significant gains in prices for producers.

Paul Ausick

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