The Nymex futures price fell slightly week-on-week. The near-month Nymex price fell by 3 cents per MMBtu over the report period, from $3.306 per MMBtu last Wednesday to $3.279 per MMBtu yesterday. The Nymex price closed 6 cents per MMBtu below the Henry Hub price yesterday. The 12-Month Strip (average of March 2013 to February 2014 contracts) fell by a similar increment, decreasing by 5 cents per MMBtu over the report period and ending the week at $3.586 per MMBtu. The 24-Month Strip is trading below $4.00 per MMBtu, and also fell by 5 cents per MMBtu for the period, closing at $3.818 per MMBtu yesterday.
Total demand for the report week was up. According to Bentek estimates, overall natural gas consumption for the nation increased by 6.1 percent. The residential/commercial sector, the biggest gas-consuming sector during the winter, consumed 7.4 percent more natural gas week-on-week. Natural gas consumption for power generation was also up, increasing by 7.3 percent. The Midwest faced colder temperatures week-on-week, consuming 23.6 percent more natural gas for power generation. The Southeast, which consumes the most natural gas for power generation, saw depressed temperatures relative to the 30-year norm, and burned 23.0 percent more natural gas in that sector. West Coast consumers faced relatively warmer temperatures with the Southwest, Pacific Northwest, and Rockies consuming 7.1 percent, 13.8 percent, and 2.1 percent less natural gas for power generation over the report period, respectively.
Total supply for the report week was essentially flat. Bentek estimates an overall supply increase of 0.1 percent for the report period. U.S. gross and dry natural gas production were down 0.4 percent. A net increase in imports from Canada of 3.3 percent mostly offset the decrease in production. Driving the increase in imports from Canada was a 25.4 percent rise in imports to the Midwest. LNG imports increased by 50 percent, although they are a very minor contributor to U.S. supply.
Working natural gas in storage decreased to 2,400 Bcf as of Friday, February 15, according to EIA's WNGSR. This represents an implied net withdrawal of 127 Bcf from the previous week. This week's net withdrawal was 13 Bcf smaller than the 5-year average net withdrawal of 140 Bcf, and 28 Bcf smaller than last year's average net withdrawal of 155 Bcf. Inventories are currently 242 Bcf (9.2 percent) less than last year at this time and 361 Bcf (17.7 percent) greater than the 5-year average of 2,039 Bcf.