Following a record-setting storage draw due to a larger than normal pull from the South Central region and a blast of wintery mix in the Northeast, storage levels decreased by 183 Bcf this week and came up short of the market expectation of a 199 Bcf withdrawal. This value also managed to not live up to last year’s draw of 230 Bcf and the five-year average of 203 Bcf. Prior to the report, the market opened around 4 cents lower this morning despite the short rally due to last week’s event, and today’s bearish withdrawal, along with mild conditions expected through February 1st
, is positioned to see the February prompt month price retreat downward yet again despite the bulls’ best efforts. Interestingly enough, Wednesday
still closed above a recent high of $3.231 that was established in November of last year, but this was said to affected mainly by technical factors. As for fundamental influence and upcoming weather, there is little to suggest any sort of pop in the natural gas market prices for now, and we will more than likely be experiencing a sideways market unless a late winter decides to appear.
Working natural gas inventories currently stand at 2,584 Bcf. This figure is 368 Bcf (12.5%) less than this time last year and 362 Bcf (12.3%) below the five year average.
The February 2018 NYMEX Future started at $3.18/MMBtu before the report’s release and has since dropped to $3.08/MMBtu.
Outlook for the Balance of Storage Season:
The graph below compares historical 12, 24 and 36 month strip prices and storage levels for the past 5 years.
The following table shows the injection numbers we will need to average by week to hit selected historical levels:
The following two graphs show current natural gas in storage compared to each of the last 5 years and weekly storage averages and patterns.
The graph below shows the injections through the current week over the past 5 years.
Finally, the graphics below depicts the 6 to 10 day temperature range outlook from the National Weather Service.
Current Week’s Outlook