Natural gas storage levels rising, AGA reports

With more than a month of the traditional refill season left and with 2.48 tcf in storage, US natural gas utilities will be well prepared this year to meet their customers� needs, Chris McGill, American Gas Association, director of gas supply and transportation, said Wednesday.


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 The 2.48 tcf of natural gas held in underground storage nationwide has already passed the amount of natural gas withdrawn from storage during each of the last five winters, the American Gas Association (AGA) said Wednesday.

With more than a month of the traditional refill season left and with 2.48 tcf in storage, natural gas utilities will be well-prepared again this year to meet their customers� needs, said Chris McGill, AGA director of gas supply and transportation. He explained injections into storage have continued into December as recently as 1998.

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 5-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.

Producing region low
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, only about 600 bcf was in storage in the producing region.

McGill said the producing region, unlike the East region, which actually consumes most of stored gas, can produce more gas as needed, whereas in the East, gas can only be stored or consumed, not produced. The producing region can also store gas for shipment at a later date to the East and West

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 (LNG).

Since January 1994, the AGA has reported the weekly drawdown and refill of working gas in underground storage in the US.

More in LNG