Return to Blog

Natural gas storage ends winter heating season at record high

We are now entering the natural gas injection season.  With storage levels at record highs, will increased natural gas demand eat away at some of the natural gas in storage, or will we enter winter 2016 with a new record high storage level?

graph of weekly natural gas storage inventories, as explained in article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report

Working natural gas inventories ended the winter heating season at 2,478 billion cubic feet (Bcf), exceeding the previous end-of-March record high of 2,473 Bcf, set in 2012, according to EIA’s Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report. Inventory withdrawals during the traditional heating season (November through March) were relatively limited this year because of winter weather that was the warmest on record and continued high levels of domestic natural gas production.

Heading into the winter heating season, inventories were at a record high of 4,009 Bcf on November 20, 2015. In the previous five winters, the total withdrawal from the end of October through the end of March averaged 2,176 Bcf. In the most recent winter, weekly withdrawals were often smaller than the five-year average level, and the total withdrawal was only 1,475 Bcf.

graph of natural gas storage inventory levels during October through March, as explained in article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report

EIA expects the summer build in working natural gas inventories will total about 1,600 Bcf. This amount would be a relatively small summer build, as injections are expected to be limited by available storage capacity. Recent data show that natural gas storage facilities in most regions of the United States already are at 44%-73% of their design capacity. The forecast build puts inventories at the end of October at a record high.

EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) expects that this summer could be similar to the summer of 2012 in terms of natural gas storage and its impact on natural gas prices and consumption. In 2012, following a warm winter, end-of-March inventories were at record-high levels. Low natural gas prices at the time and high production levels led to record-high consumption of natural gas in the electric power sector, both for the summer and the year as a whole. In 2015, natural gas use by electric power generators broke the 2012 record, and STEO projects another record will be set for 2016. Although this month’s STEO expects a slowdown in natural gas production growth in 2016, domestic supplies still remain at high levels.


Disclaimer: Although the information contained herein is from sources believed to be reliable, TFS Energy Solutions, LLC and/or any of its members, affiliates, and subsidiaries (collectively “TFS”) makes no warranty or representation that such information is correct and is not responsible for errors, omissions or misstatements of any kind. All information is provided “AS IS” and on an “AS AVAILABLE” basis and TFS disclaims all express and implied warranties related to such information and does not guarantee the accuracy, timeliness, completeness, performance or fitness for a particular purpose of any of the information. The information contained herein, including any pricing, is for informational purposes only, can be changed at any time, should be independently evaluated, and is not a binding offer to provide electricity, natural gas and related services. The parties agree that TFS’s sole function with respect to any transaction is the introduction of the parties and that each party is responsible for evaluating the merits of the transaction and credit worthiness of the other. TFS assumes no responsibility for the performance of any transaction or the financial condition of any party. TFS accepts no liability for any direct, indirect or other consequential loss arising out of any use of the information contained herein or any inaccuracy, error or omission in any of its content. This document is the property of, and is proprietary to, TFS Energy Solutions, LLC and/or any of its members, affiliates, and subsidiaries (collectively “TFS”) and is identified as “Confidential.” Those parties to whom it is distributed shall exercise the same degree of custody and care afforded their own such information. TFS makes no claims concerning the validity of the information provided herein and will not be held liable for any use of this information. The information provided herein may be displayed and printed for your internal use only and may not reproduced, retransmitted, distributed, disseminated, sold, published, broadcast or circulated to anyone without the express written consent of TFS.