U.S. Natgas Withdrawals Set Record
EIA says underground inventories at 11-year low
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that a winter of prolonged, widespread, bitter cold weather throughout much of the United States led to record-breaking natural gas withdrawals and brought inventories to an 11-year low.
EIA projected winter withdrawals of 2851 Bcf (80.7 x 109 m3). From Nov. 1, 2013 through March 10, 2014, U.S. consumption of gas averaged 91.2 Bcfd (2.58 x 109 m3/d), 10% higher than last winter and 13% over the average during the past five winters.
The agency said during the April-though-October injection season, operators will keep compressors running in order to replenish storage caverns and fields with 2500 Bcf (70.8 x 109 m3), surpassing the 2001 record by more than 90 Bcf (2.5 x 109 m3), and ending the injection season at 3459 Bcf (98 x 109 m3).
It said that should be no problem. Spot prices, slightly above US$4/MMBtu, will be high enough to keep electric power consumption of gas essentially flat compared to levels a year ago. Meanwhile, gas production will rise 2% to 68.1 Bcfd (1.9 x 109 m3/d).