Natural Gas Storage Up, Imports Reach All-Time Low

This week’s natural gas storage report is out, and working gas in storage was up a bit from last week’s report, reaching 2,941 billion cubic feet, 96 Bcf greater than last week’s report. Stocks were 297 Bcf less than the year-ago period but still 20 Bcf above the five-year average of 2,921 Bcf.

The total working gas at 2,941 Bcf is within the five-year average. The Energy Information Administration also recently released data that showed natural gas imports have fallen greatly over the past two years as domestic production ramps up. From 2011 to 2012, gas imports declined by 23 percent, and in the first 5 months of 2013 alone, imports have fallen 22 percent.

natural gas imports

Source: Energy Information Administration

The Obama administration has given the natural gas industry a bit of a boost this week, allowing as much as 2 Bcf per day of exports from a terminal in Louisiana, Reuters reports. But that’s only the second permit issued in three months, and the White House is already dealing with an abundance of companies and exporters looking to unload excess natural gas off their hands.

In similar news, natural gas prices have hit a five-month low as demand continues to be outpaced by supply — perhaps in part due to firms’ inability to export to global markets, according to The Wall Street Journal. The commodity is in an awkward spot, as even falling prices haven’t allowed it to compete in certain U.S. markets yet.

Aaron Calder, a senior market analyst at Gelber & Associates, told the WSJ, ”There is a dearth of bullish drivers [on natural gas], adding that, “natural gas has to fall further to compete with coal.”

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