Natural gas stored underground across the Lower 48 rose 49 bcf for the week ended Sept. 23 to an estimated 3.6 tcf, the US Energy Information Administration reported Sept. 29.
The rise in gas storage was less than anticipated. Analysts surveyed by the Wall Street Journal in advance of the report had expected EIA would report that stockpiles rose 57 bcf.
EIA’s Gas Storage Report said gas storage levels were 90 bcf higher than last year at this time and 220 bcf above the 5-year average of 3.38 tcf.
US gas futures prices had been supported by hot weather across the nation in recent weeks, which increased demand for gas-fired electricity for air conditioning.
Jeff Moore, senior energy analyst for Platts Analytics, said gas prices are expected to rise above $3.50/MMbtu this winter on higher demand and stagnant supply.
Moore expects storage withdrawals will pick up during the winter assuming a return to normal weather. The US is expected to withdrawal an additional 900 bcf from storage this season compared with last winter.