Gas storage withdrawals 'much higher' than 5-year average

By the OGJ Online Staff
HOUSTON, Feb. 21 -- Cold weather in much of the US in early February has ended a series of weeks of relatively small gas withdrawals from storage, said C.H. Guernsey & Co., Oklahoma City. According to the firm's models, cold weather during the first full week of February produced withdrawals that were "much higher" than the 5-year average.

"The Guernsey models estimated a net withdrawal of gas in storage of 133-145 bcf [for the week of Feb. 4], with 89 bcf coming from Eastern storage alone. The net withdrawal estimated by the American Gas Association was 95 bcf for the same period last year," Guernsey said.

The Guernsey models -- which estimate gas use and price movements pegged to the weather in 15 cities -- showed temperatures 56% lower than the previous week in significant northern cities, said Donald Murry, Guernsey vice-president. However, despite the recent strong drawdown, gas in storage remains close to 45% above the 5-year average, Murry added.

"The high gas-in-storage levels are still the major market influence, holding down current and even forward prices for summer gas," he said.

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