AGA says US gas stocks adequate for rest of winter

The American Gas Association said Tuesday that US natural gas storage levels appear adequate for the rest of the winter. It said gas stocks were 1.73 tcf, more than the country has used at the end of the last five winter heating seasons


The American Gas Association said Tuesday that US natural gas storage levels appear adequate for the rest of the winter.

AGA said November and December 2000 were the coldest such months on record, according to the National Weather Service, resulting in higher gas bills for consumers.

David Parker, AGA president and CEO, said, "Residential natural gas customers got hit with a double-whammy this winter: record cold weather in November and December, on top of nationwide increases in the wholesale price of each unit of natural gas."

The US Energy Information Administration said Tuesday that homeowners may pay 70% more this winter for gas than they did last winter (OGJ Online, Jan, 9, 2001).

Parker said because of the very cold weather the last 2 months, levels of gas in reserves were lower at the end of December 2000 than at any comparable time during the 7 years the association has been tracking working gas levels in underground storage. But he emphasized that storage levels appear to be adequate to meet remaining winter needs.

"Today, there is more natural gas held in underground storage�1.73 tcf�than has ever been removed from storage during the remainder of any of the last five winter heating seasons," Parker said. Gas storage accounts for about 20% of the volume used in the winter heating season, from Nov. 1 through Mar. 31.

"Rig counts are at record levels and new production will be forthcoming," Parker said. "But it takes time for new exploration to produce adequate volumes of gas to meet increased demand."

He said meanwhile, utilities are working to help customers manage their energy bills by promoting energy-efficiency tips, reminding customers of flexible bill-payment programs, and reaching out to low-income individuals.

AGA said utility companies contributed $22 million to charitable fuel funds in 1998, a fourth of all donations to the funds. Utility customers were the largest donors, contributing $44 million in 1998.

More in Drilling & Production