Working natural gas in storage increased to 2,380 Bcf as of Friday, March 16, according to EIA's WNGSR. This represents an increase of 11 Bcf from the previous week, the first net injection in 2012. Over the past 19 years of reported data, this is the 5th time that the first net injections have occurred as early as the 2nd to 3rd week in March. Both the 5-year average and year-ago stock changes for the week were implied net withdrawals of 17 Bcf and 20 Bcf, respectively. Inventories in the East Region posted a decline of 10 Bcf (a 0.9 percent decline from the previous week’s level) while in the Producing Region working gas stocks showed a net injection of 20 Bcf (a 2.1 percent increase). Stocks in the West Region posted a slight increase of 1 Bcf.
Stocks were 835 Bcf higher than the 5-year average level of 1,545 Bcf and 766 Bcf higher than last year at this time. Inventories in the Producing Region remain 373 Bcf (60.9 percent) above the region’s 5-year average of 612 Bcf . Stocks in the East and West Regions are also above their 5-year averages by 356 Bcf (51.4 percent) and 107 Bcf (44.8 percent), respectively. Total working gas is above the 5-year historical range, 54.0 percent above the 5-year average, and 47.5 above last year’s level.
As of this week, the WNGSR will provide new breakouts for inventory levels at salt cavern and nonsalt cavern facilities in the Producing Region. Working gas stocks in the Producing Region, for the week ending March 16, 2012, totaled 985 Bcf, with 232 Bcf in salt cavern facilities and 752 Bcf in nonsalt cavern facilities. Working gas stocks increased 9 Bcf in the salt cavern facilities and increased 9 Bcf in the nonsalt cavern facilities, since March 9. An historical series of the salt and nonsalt subtotals of the Producing Region, dating back to January 7, 2011, is available for download at: wngsr_producing_region_salt.xls. This new breakout of regional natural gas stocks should help analysts assess more comprehensively the relationship between inventory changes and types of storage facilities.
Temperatures during the week ending March 15 were 8.9 degrees warmer than the 30-year normal temperature and 6.6 degrees warmer than the same period last year. During the week all regions were warmer than normal, particularly the East North Central and West North Central Regions in the Midwest averaging 14.3 and 14.1 degrees warmer than normal, respectively. Heating degree-days nationwide were down 38.7 percent from normal and 30.7 percent from last year.