The US Energy Information Administration is predicting a robust natural gas injection season from April to October of this year with about 2,500 billion cubic feet added to storage as operators seek to rebuild stocks depleted during a particularly long and cold winter in much of the United States.
US gas inventories will end the current withdrawal season at the end of March below 1 trillion cubic feet, falling to a 10-year low after unusually cold weather sparked high demand and forced a record-breaking winter withdrawal.
The agency says it expects relatively high gas production increases and moderate demand growth starting in April that will allow for a record storage build through October. The forecasted electric power consumption of gas from April to October is 23.9 bcf/day day, essentially flat compared with a year ago. Expected dry natural gas production during this period will reach 68.1 bcf/day – up 2% from last year.
“The forecasted April-to-October storage build of nearly 2,500 bcf would surpass the previous record injection season net inventory build (April–October 2001) by more than 90 bcf, to end the injection season at 3,459 bcf,” the EIA said.
The projected record high injections would not fully erase the deficit in storage volumes caused by this winter’s heavy withdrawals.
“While the projected storage build for the upcoming injection season would be a record, total Lower 48 end-October inventories in 2014 would still be at their lowest level since 2008,” according to the agency.