Natural gas storage levels surpass recent consumption, AGA reports

Current US storage levels for natural gas indicate that gas utilities are well prepared again to meet their customers' needs this winter, the American Gas Association reported Wednesday. The 2.48 tcf of gas held in underground storage nationwide has already passed the amount withdrawn from storage during each of the last five winters, AGA said.


Current US storage levels for natural gas indicate that gas utilities are well prepared again to meet their customers' needs this winter, the American Gas Association (AGA) reported Wednesday.

The 2.48 tcf of gas already held in underground storage nationwide has surpassed the amount withdrawn from storage during each of the last five winters, AGA officials said.

Chris McGill, AGA director of gas supply and transportation, said there is more than a month of the traditional storage refill season left. Storage injections have continued all the way into December as recently as 1998, he said.

In US states east of the Mississippi River, the region with the highest winter demand for natural gas, the amount of gas in storage has already reached 1.49 tcf, or the 82%-full mark.

�Storage levels in the consuming region east are closely watched, because for many companies as much as 50% of peak-day supply may be pulled from storage,� McGill said. �So far, working gas injections appear to be very strong, lagging only about 7% behind the five-year average for the region,� McGill said. The consuming region east includes all states east of the Mississippi River, as well as Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri, but excluding Alabama and Mississippi.

In contrast, the producing region has entered the winter heating season with volumes as low as 760 bcf or as high as 923 bcf, reflecting the diverse influences that affect decisions on whether to store or flow gas from the region, McGill noted. At the end of September, more than 600 bcf was already in storage in the producing region.

Past AGA studies have shown that, on average, 20% of gas consumed during a 5-month winter season comes from underground storage. The remainder of the gas consumed during an average winter, about 65%, comes from domestic production, while 13% comes from imports, mostly from Canada, and supplemental supplies such as liquefied natural gas.

Since January 1994, the AGA has reported the weekly drawdown and refill of working gas in underground storage in the United States. The report reflects trends in storage utilization and captures key changes in storage volumes from week to week and year to year.

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