Prices at nearly all downstream trading locations continued on a downward trend through the end of last week and began to firm up on Monday, led by Northeast trading points. Spot prices at the Algonquin Citygate trading point for delivery into Boston, which started the week at $2.74 per MMBtu, dropped to $2.09 per MMBtu on Friday and then increased for the remainder of the week to close at $2.11 per MMBtu yesterday (down 23.0 percent over the week). Over the same period, the Chicago citygate price fell from $2.02 per MMBtu last Wednesday to $1.94 per MMBtu on Friday before rebounding and ending the week at $2.00 per MMBtu (down a scant 1.0 percent for the week).
Total consumption over the report week (Wednesday to Wednesday) decreased in all sectors except power generation. According to estimates from Bentek, domestic natural gas consumption fell by 4.5 percent from last week. The residential/commercial sector led the decline with a 17.4 percent loss, while the industrial sector posted a 3.0 percent loss. In contrast, the power generation sector registered a 7.8 percent increase over the report week, with double-digit percentage increases in the Northeast, Midwest, and Southeast. These increases were in part offset by double-digit power burn declines in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest.
Total supply was down slightly for the week due to a small decline in dry gas production. According to Bentek estimates, the week’s average total natural gas supply registered a 0.5 percent decrease from last week’s level, led by a decline in dry gas production. Domestic weekly dry gas production was 0.6 percent lower than the previous week, yet 5.7 percent above the same time last year. The decrease in this week’s dry gas production was accompanied by a 1.2 percent increase in imports from Canada, which stand 6.7 percent below year-ago volumes for the same week. There was an 11.0 percent decrease in liquefied natural gas (LNG) sendout during the week, with sendout volumes 64.8 percent below year-ago levels.
Working natural gas in storage increased to 2,512 Bcf as of Friday, April 13, according to EIA’s WNGSR. This represents a net injection of 25 Bcf from the previous week. This week’s injection is slightly less than the 5-year (2007-2011) average injection for the same week of 26 Bcf. Last year, during the same week, the implied net injection was 42 Bcf, likely because of warmer temperatures during the same week last year. Working inventories are currently 871 Bcf greater than their year-ago levels and 919 Bcf greater than the 5-year average.