Although the winter has been unseasonably warm through most of the lower 48 States, cold temperatures on Sunday led to increases in consumption, imports, and LNG sendout according to estimates from BENTEK Energy, LLC (Bentek). Total U.S. consumption rose to more than 104 billion cubic feet (Bcf) on Sunday, the highest level of the winter so far. Imports from Canada and LNG sendout – each of which has been very low this year –increased during the weekend, filling in as a marginal source of supply. LNG sendout rose to 1.2 Bcf on Sunday and Monday, with sendout coming from four separate terminals (last report week, LNG sendout averaged 0.6 Bcf per day).
This winter has been unusually warm, which has been reflected in lower natural gas consumption – the five-year (2007 – 2011) average for January consumption, according to both EIA and Bentek data, is 87.7 Bcf per day, about 4 percent greater than Bentek’s January 2012 average of 83.9 Bcf per day. Bentek’s five-year average of consumption for February 1 – 15 is about 87.2 Bcf; even with the weekend’s cold snap, February 1 – 15 2012 consumption averaged about 3 percent below that, at 84.8 Bcf per day. Despite power burn consistently at levels much greater than last year, the overall level of consumption is down, reflecting a weather-related decline in consumption.
(For the Week Ending Wednesday, February 15, 2012)
- With the exception of the Northeast, which experienced significant price increases as a cold spell brought lower than normal temperatures into the region over the weekend, prices across the country in general remained fairly level over the week. The Henry Hub price closed at $2.54 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) on February 15, up 5 cents for the week.
- At the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), the March 2012 natural gas contract also traded within a narrow range, finishing the week with a decline of 2.3 cents per MMBtu to close at $2.425 per MMBtu.
- Working natural gas in storage was 2,761 Bcf as of Friday, February 10, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report (WNGSR). The implied net withdrawal for the week was 127 Bcf, positioning storage volumes 817 Bcf above year-ago levels.
- The natural gas rotary rig count, as reported February 10 by Baker Hughes Incorporated, declined by 25 to 720 active rigs. Meanwhile, oil-directed rigs increased by 18 to 1,263. Overall, the gas rig count is 21 percent lower than a year ago, and the oil rig count is 57 percent higher.