US natural gas inventories by region
The EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration) divides the US into the following five natural gas storage regions:
- South Central
Below are the movements in natural gas inventories for the storage regions between January 27, 2017, and February 3, 2017.
- East – fell 49 Bcf (billion cubic feet) to 520 Bcf
- Midwest – fell 45 Bcf to 685 Bcf
- Mountain – fell 9 Bcf to 155 Bcf
- Pacific – fell 13 Bcf to 208 Bcf
- South Central – fell 36 Bcf to 991 Bcf
Natural gas inventories and prices
US natural gas inventories are at 2,559 Bcf for the week ending February 3, 2017—11.3% lower than the same period in 2016, as we discussed in the previous part of this series. Sharper-than-average falls in US natural gas inventories during the winter season could support US natural gas (UNG) (BOIL) (GASL) prices.
End of winter natural gas inventories
The EIA estimates that US natural gas inventories will be at 1,805 Bcf by the end of March 2017—3.7% higher than the five-year average. High US natural gas inventories at the end of the winter heating season could pressure natural gas prices in 2017. Inventories start to build again at the end of the winter. For more on inventories, read the previous part of this series.
The US natural gas rig count also plays a vital role in driving natural gas prices. We’ll discuss the US natural gas rig count in the next part.