EIA: Natural gas ends “refill season” at record high level

November 11, 2016

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From the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Weekly Natural Gas Update:

Working natural gas in storage in the Lower 48 states as of October 31, the traditional end of the refill season, reached a record level of 3,986 billion cubic feet (Bcf), as interpolated from EIA’s Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report data released today. This is 183 Bcf (5%) higher than the five-year (2011–15) end-of-October average, and exceeds the previous end-of-October high of 3,929 set last in 2012. Net injections during this year’s refill season, which started on April 1, 2016, were 678 Bcf (31%) lower than the five-year average and 955 Bcf (39%) lower than injections last year.

Working gas stocks entered the refill season this year at a record high level, totaling 2,470 Bcf on March 31, 19 Bcf above the previous 2012 record. Since the beginning of the refill season, net injections into working gas stocks have totaled 1,516 Bcf. This is the second-lowest refill season since 2007, with injections this year exceeding only the 2012 tally of 1,456 Bcf.

Natural gas production, consumption, and exports are considerably higher now compared with 2012. Despite these changes, the pace of injections to reach that level can vary considerably, depending in large part on where working gas stocks start the refill season. As in 2012, a high April 1 starting point and stronger-than-average power sector consumption contributed to lower-than-average weekly net injections. In the last two years, working gas stocks have ended the refill season within 200 Bcf of the previous five-year average. Additionally, over the last 13 years, weekly injections continued into November.