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Natural gas storage inventories decreased 237 Bcf for the week ending February 1, according to the EIA’s weekly report. This draw is below the market expectation, which was a decrease of 247 Bcf.

Working gas storage inventories now sit at 1.960 Tcf, which is 135 Bcf below last year and 415 Bcf below the five-year average.

At the time of this writing, the March 2019 contract was trading at $2.570/MMBtu, $0.092 below yesterday’s close of $2.662/MMBtu.

As peak winter season is nearing an end, prices continue to decline. The polar vortex did not succeed in making prices rise, and forecasts of colder weather have also failed to gain any traction. There still could be a rise in prices if a prolonged and sustained cold shot comes about. However, even if that cold shot forms, expect prices to stay below $3/MMBtu.

See the chart below for projections of the end-of-season storage inventories as of April 1, the end of the withdrawal season.

Gas Draw Below Expectations, Prices Continue Declines

This Week in Fundamentals
The summary below is based on Bloomberg’s flow data and DI analysis for the week ending February 7, 2019.

Supply:

  • Dry gas production fell 0.70 Bcf/d on the week, with the decrease mainly coming from the South Central region (-0.62 Bcf/d). The decrease in the South Central region was spread out among Louisiana (-0.32 Bcf/d), the GoM (-0.25 Bcf/d), and Texas (-0.16 Bcf/d).
  • Canadian net imports were down 2.40 Bcf/d on the week. The decrease was spread across the US and due to severely cold weather in Canada combined with above average temperatures in the US.

Demand:

  • Domestic natural gas demand decreased 26.20 Bcf/d week over week. Res/Com demand was the main driver of this decrease, falling 19.28 Bcf/d. Power and Industrial demand also fell 4.65 Bcf/d and 2.28 Bcf/d, respectively.
  • LNG exports decreased 1.18 Bcf/d. Sabine Pass exports caused the decrease week over week due to an outage on train 1. Mexican exports decreased 0.19 Bcf/d on the week.

Total supply is down 3.10 Bcf/d, while total demand dropped 28.33 Bcf/d week over week. With the demand decrease outpacing the supply decrease, expect the EIA to report a weaker draw next week. The ICE Financial Weekly Index report is currently expecting a draw of 80 Bcf for next week. Last year, the same week saw a draw of 194 Bcf, while the five-year average is 162 Bcf.

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