As inventories have shrunk, gas prices have more than doubled their year-earlier levels this month. The U.S. Energy Information Administration stated Thursday that natural gas stocks increased by 31 billion cubic feet last week, pushing the total natural gas inventory to 1.7 trillion cubic feet.
At this level, the U.S. working stockpile of natural gas is approximately 74 billion cubic feet lower than the five-year average of 1.77 trillion cubic feet. For comparison, working gas in storage amounted to 2.5 trillion cubic feet in the same period last year.
Colder temperatures have lingered since March, driving gas prices higher and significantly tightening inventories in recent weeks. While gas stockpiles usually begin to increase at the end of the peak winter demand season, the unseasonably cold weather this month has forced inventories down at a time when they typically rise.
With this guide trend, natural gas futures rose 2.2 percent, to $4.20 per million British thermal units, ahead of the Environmental Information Administrations natural gas report. Analysts expected that the EIAs report to show slightly higher reserves, estimating that gas inventories rose by 33 billion cubic feet last week…