EIA Natural Gas Report: Week Influenced By Polar Vortex

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Working gas in storage declined again, remaining below the five-year average. The news was released in the Energy Information Administration’s weekly natural gas storage report on Thursday.

As of January 10, there was 2,530 billion cubic feet of working natural gas in storage. This is a decline of 287 Bcf from the previous week and a year-over-year differential of 659 Bcf. The stocks are 443 Bcf below historic averages.

The decreases were greatest in the East and Producing region, where stocks fell 149 Bcf and 107 Bcf, respectively. The West saw a decline of 31 Bcf. The East’s losses represent a change of 22.2 percent from where they stood one year ago. In total, stocks are down 20.7 percent from 2013 levels.

Last week’s freezing weather greatly affected natural gas, the EIA reports. In the East, as temperatures plummeted, gas-fired plants were competing for limited pipeline capacity in an already constrained system. This was particularly problematic for New England and New York.

The weather drove demand and prices, to higher-than-usual levels. New England saw costs rise, but not to the extent that New York did. Outside of the East, the Midwestern region’s prices were up, as well.

The prices were explained by the cold weather of the polar vortex and limits on the supply. The cold front also caused production of natural gas to dip to low levels not seen since September 2012. At the same time, demand spiked and was 38 percent greater than the previous week, according to the EIA.