The US Energy Information Administration’s Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) for March forecasts a robust natural gas injection season through April to October with nearly 2,500 bcf added to storage as operators seek to rebuild stocks.
US gas inventories will end the current withdrawal season at the end of March below 1 tcf, hitting a 10-year low, after unusually cold weather sparked high demand and forced a record-breaking winter withdrawal.
EIA expects relatively high gas production growth 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 bcfd, essentially flat compared with a year ago. Expected dry natural gas production during this period reaches 68.1 bcfd, 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,” EIA said.
However, 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.” EIA said.