Increases in dry gas production, imports, LNG sendout, contributed to an increase in total supply. According to Bentek estimates, the week’s natural gas supply showed a 0.7 percent increase from last week’s level. Domestic dry gas production remained relatively level over the week, posting a 0.2 percent increase over the previous week and is 4.9 percent above this time last year. The increase in this week’s natural gas supply was augmented by a 6.5 percent increase in imports from Canada and, although volumetrically small, a 20.1 percent increase in LNG imports. Imports from Canada are 16.5 percent below year-ago volumes for the same week, and LNG imports are 41.9 percent below year-ago levels.
Working natural gas in storage increased to 2,437 Bcf as of Friday, March 23, according to EIA's WNGSR. This represents an increase of 57 Bcf from the previous week. The implied net injection for the same week last year was 7 Bcf, while on average over the last 5 years there were implied net injections of 8 Bcf. Inventories in both the East and Producing Regions posted increases of 25 Bcf (a 2.4 percent increase from the previous week’s level) and 34 Bcf (a 3.5 percent increase), respectively. Stocks in the West Region posted a slight decline of 2 Bcf.
Stocks were 900 Bcf (58.6 percent) higher than the 5-year average level of 1,537 Bcf and 816 Bcf (50.3 percent) higher than last year at this time. Inventories in both the Producing and East Regions are over 60 percent above their 5-year average, by 392 Bcf and 403 Bcf, respectively. The West Region inventories are also above their 5-year averages by 104 Bcf (43.3 percent).
Beginning with the report period for the week ending March 16, 2012, the WNGSR has provided 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 23, 2012, totaled 1,019 Bcf, with 249 Bcf in salt cavern facilities and 770 Bcf in nonsalt cavern facilities. Working gas stocks increased 17 Bcf in the salt cavern facilities and increased 18 Bcf in the nonsalt cavern facilities, since March 16. 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.