At the NYMEX, prices dropped to lows not seen in almost 10 years. The near-month (February 2012) futures contract fell from $2.774 per MMBtu last Wednesday to $2.472 yesterday. The 12-month strip, the average of the 12 contracts between February 2012 and January 2013, declined from $3.114 per MMBtu last Wednesday to $2.848 per MMBtu yesterday.
Working natural gas in storage fell to 3,290 Bcf as of Friday, January 13, according to EIA's WNGSR. This represents an implied net withdrawal of 87 Bcf. Stocks were 566 Bcf higher than the 5-year average level, as well as 539 Bcf higher than last year at this time. Inventories in the Producing Region stand out at 276 Bcf (31.1 percent) above the 5-year average of 888 Bcf. Stocks in the East and West Regions were above their 5-year averages by 224 Bcf (15.2 percent) and 66 Bcf (18.0 percent), respectively.
The implied net withdrawal was 46% lower than the 5-year average withdrawal for the week, likely due to warmer-than-normal weather. In all three regions, the net withdrawals for the week were significantly lower than the 5-year average. The implied net withdrawal of 15 Bcf in the Producing region was 70% lower than the 5-year average. Implied net withdrawals in the East and West Regions were 33% and 48% lower than the 5-year average, respectively.
Temperatures during the week ending January 12 were 9.1 degrees warmer than the 30-year normal temperature and 13.1 degrees warmer than the same period last year. At the national level, the average temperature was higher than the 30-year average by a greater margin than the last 9 weeks of warmer-than-normal temperatures. During the week all regions were warmer than normal, particularly the West North Central and East North Central regions in the Midwest averaging 13.7 and 13.6 degrees warmer than normal, respectively. Heating degree-days nationwide were down 28.8 percent from normal.