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Slowing Natural Gas Inventories Could Drive Prices

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EIA’s natural gas inventories 

On July 13, 2017, the EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration) released its weekly natural gas inventory report. It reported that US natural gas inventories rose by 57 Bcf (billion cubic feet) to 2,945 Bcf on June 30–July 7, 2017.

Inventories rose 2% for the week ending July 7, 2017—compared to the previous week. However, inventories have fallen 8.9% from the same period in 2016.

A Global Platts survey estimated that US natural gas inventories would have risen by 43 Bcf–64 Bcf on June 30–July 7, 2017.

Natural gas (DGAZ) (GASL) (UGAZ) prices rose after the inventory report on July 13, 2017. However, prices were lower at the close of trade on July 13, 2017.

Moves in natural gas prices impact natural gas exploration and production companies’ profitability like Southwestern Energy (SWN), EQT (EQT), Newfield Exploration (NFX), and Rex Energy (REXX).

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US natural gas inventories by region

The movements in natural gas inventories for the storage regions on June 30–July 7, 2017, are as follows:

  • East – rose by 24 Bcf (billion cubic feet) to 588 Bcf
  • Midwest – rose by 20 Bcf to 719 Bcf
  • Mountain – rose by six Bcf to 193 Bcf
  • Pacific – rose by five Bcf to 292 Bcf
  • South Central – rose by two Bcf to 1,153 Bcf

Impact 

US natural gas inventories are 6.2% above their five-year average for the week ending July 7, 2017. In March 2017, inventories were 21.0% higher than the five-year average. It indicates that US natural gas inventories are slowing.

On July 11, 2017, the EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration) released its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook report. The EIA estimates that US natural gas inventories would be 0.3% higher than the five-year average by the end of December 2017. The fall in inventories would benefit natural gas prices.

In the next part, we’ll discuss the US natural gas rig count and its impact on gas prices.

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